Ian Flitman (UK)
‘Hackney Girl’ is a DVD Rom for Windows that explores new narrative structures in digitally expanded cinema. It can be viewed one to one via the computer screen, or be data-projected in a constant loop in a gallery space for a more communal cinematic experience. It also exists at a lower resolution on the website www.blipstation.com.
The piece is a video-wall diary describing the English artist’s journey from Hackney, London where there are significant immigrant populations of Turkish extraction, to Istanbul in Turkey where he decided to live. It is a love story documenting the artist’s involvement with Hackney Girl’s eponymous heroine, Yasemin Güvenç, a Turkish actress, who went back to Istanbul to work.
A central theme is that of environments and the people that populate them. As such it is a visual meditation on place and displacement. The work draws on a visual library of nearly 600 stills and over 550 short movie clips to present this visual collage of static shots and moving images that also end in a freeze photo frame. This along with the three by three grid of alternately filling and emptying screens provides the piece’s staccato rhythm.
The story is dynamically edited at runtime producing an endless variety of cuts and differently nuanced versions of the same basic narrative. It is impossible to see the same version twice. Each film can last between 12 and 18 minutes depending on the shot selection determined by the computer. Thus it also explores the new possibilities of narrative in digital mediated film. Our memories like the piece itself constantly reselect and exclude events to transform our past anew. It should be thus seen twice for its unique properties to be appreciated and understood. Then the act of viewing becomes something else: an exercise in pattern recognition.
The piece poses questions both about editorial control and the possibility of random access memory archived in a self-determining yet rule based form. It quotes sources as diverse as Freud, Bubba Sparxxx, Turkish Pop Cinema and John Keats, whose lines from Ode to Psyche encapsulate its central aesthetic:
‘With all the gardener Fancy e’er could feign
Who breeding flowers, will never breed the same’
‘Hackney Girl’ has been shown in over a dozen media art festivals and galleries around the world including FILE in Brasil, EMAF in Germany and won the Best Narrative Award at the Flash In The Can Festival in Toronto in 2004. It is also on several university reading lists including MIT as a work of reference regarding non-linear narrative in film. The artist is now based in London.
This video participates in
CologneOFF IV – Here We Are!
4th edittion of Cologne Online Film Festival
LAB program series