Thursday, February 12, 2004

Surveilled City Double Feature

Michael Klierís Der Riese (The Giant) and Daniel Barnett's Endless

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

These two documents of vast scope and rich detail are descendents of Walter Ruttman’s 1927 Berlin: Symphony of a City, a seminal film of the organic, teeming urban day. Times have changed. The city has sprawled and beneath the human din you can hear a monotonous hum of electromechanical remote security. The Giant (1983) is a new “day in the life” told with found surveillance footage, eavesdropping on the sinister deadpan of German mounted remote surveillance cameras and simulators. Endless (1990) is an homage to Chicago’s plain, its Cartesian grid of streets overlayed on the prairie the land once knew. The film is an optical meditation on the cityscape panning down luscious, high-contrast stills, creating an eternal city out of a few months of instants. (Konrad Steiner)