Before I get into this week’s material, I’d like to urge my readers to click over to Museworthy, where my friend, model, and blogging mentor Claudia is celebrating four years of her entertaining, inspiring, and enlightening blog about artists, models, and her life as an artists’ model. Every Museworthy blogaversary post has featured a photo of Claudia by me. Check out this year’s shot at the link! And here are the shots for years one, two, and three.
I’m continuing to develop my own approach to watercolor painting, but I’ll wait to post on that again until I have a wider selection of examples to share. Today’s post, though, does feature colors running in water, as well as optical phenomena of distortion and reflection, so you could see it as a continuation of themes.
The stills here are from “Driving Rain”, a video made in the spring of 2008. This is one of my experiments in minimal cinema, using the video camera to capture fleeting phenomena of light and motion. We are used to seeing moving image media used to present narrative, to entertain, educate, persuade, or manipulate. I’m interested in stripping all of that away, to see the moving image as simply an image of movement. We appreciate still pictures for their aesthetic and formal qualities, for their ability to show us the world through another’s awakened eye. I believe video can do the same, separate from its rhetorical dimensions. (For other “minimal cinema” efforts, see here and here.)
The video is nothing but a shot through the windshield of a vehicle during a pelting downpour, driving across the Williamsburg Bridge between Brooklyn and Manhattan, through the streets of the Lower East Side, and up the FDR Drive along the East River waterfront of Manhattan. There is no music, there are no voices, and there are no edits until nine minutes into the total eleven-minute running time. Sounds boring as hell, you say? It is, unless you give in to the film’s narrative blankness and start appreciating the peculiar complexities of the images and sounds.
There is the mechanical beating of the windshield wipers, the deluge’s waves of white noise, and the roar of the engine. There’s the stop-and-go flow of traffic and the relentless flow of water from the sky. The world is seen through a refractive surface of water droplets and rivulets. Droplets are drawn downward by gravity, shoved aside by the wiper, and blown upward by the wind.
Because you aren’t actually driving in this monsoon, you are free to enjoy the musical phases of its various rhythmic elements, to marvel at the complexity of the movements of water on glass, to appreciate the impressionist scattering of light and color that the wet windshield introduces to the world beyond it.
The video is embedded below (unless you receive the blog by email), but I suggest following this link to see the video in full screen and HD resolution. If your computer or connection isn’t up to that, or if you’re reading this blog on your phone, don’t bother – just enjoy the stills. This video was conceived with the idea of projecting it in high definition on a large screen, and it works best that way.
If you appreciate the beauty of rain as I do, you might also enjoy this earlier post, featuring still pictures of rain in the city.