Sunday, December 4, 2016

Text written after André Lehmann's 3 videos

I sit. I wait. And the city comes. Wait.  Comes to this. Turn. The spin. Of this grey terrain between flickering images. Chinatown at the periphery of epileptic propulsion into a fit of not-seeing spectrum of snapshop blurrrrr. Babel in red and green. Chinese character. We read our winnowing way through crowds facing the slow stroll of 70s cool cat characters in polyester bellbottoms skintight tops and hairdos extending into space. Cross. Across. A street of. NY? LA? Italy? Some no where Anglophone space signs itself here in a close up fog of billboard, poster, flyer, shop lettering shopping for you, to you, the marketed self taking a spin round town. Pause. Flutter of light. Flicker at eye-edge birdside bedlam of traffic and markets at a full tilt. Halt. Jam. Slip through the space in. Catch a glimpse. Something of the urban passing into, passing through, enclosing inside out. A bright blue hat and a black suit seen from behind at market, pressed against stalls, sidling through. Days. Days and. Days when time backed up to here. And then. Which city? Decade? Crosses us each out into the defining urbanism of the other. Wait. Come to this. Again. A long rush into the shuttle of classifieds. From the masses a man looking down approaches, hair whirling up seemingly an afro but when he lifts his face his typical olive skin and hooked Godfather nose speak Italian, rooted in vineyards, cypress gardens, and red terra cotta landscapes abandoned for this rush of concrete and steel, hugged by an overtight baby blue shirt he pulls off with a swagger grown massive in the viewfinder until, gigantic, he passes into oblivion. The market swarms round where he’s been. Look right. Left. Then the yellow of cabs. Yellow rainslicker. Red umbrella tipped with grey. Closed between drops. Onscreen kitty corner Manhattan filmed from out one of the subway’s elevated cars. Go up and down, express or halt at every west side mid-Manhattan, central city, stop for brick and signage. Rows of little square windows peer out cutting a stripe over a cement surface. Then the ghosting distant towers (the twins looming like nostalgia, like that smoky image of somewhere almost forgotten/someone or something almost lost to you) then more water towers like pudgy rockets ready to launch into space. The blue grey dusty light transpiercing faded film, enclosed decades. Close up fast-action flick of China town shops retake over the screen just right. Just wait. Hold, reach, pause say your eyes as I am sprinting visually after and after and after. A loop. Are we on. Spinning back to. Round to. Getting at or into it. The city. Impatient. Hurried. Harried. Before I turn to see a crowed slowed, prints all the rage in floral, checkers, paisleys, patterned skirts and tops’ overbright stripes of uneven widths (fire engine red, green, bumblebee yellow and black), child in even-keeled red white and blue. Then to the river for a brighter day rooftop view shaking a bit, unstable on the rails, as if this pedestrian were float-walking on an invisible people mover from some futuristic Jetson’s world at the level of the not-yet-opened High Line. New York is still a dream between a prehistoric unconscious state of its own blocked history. I see the red-orange of dusk pinken and feel the ochre heat of New Mexico. The all of America, NYC-encompassing in the unfocused rush of keys keep on passing, unpassing on screens triangulated, tripartite, tripled view as we ask ourselves how do we locate  ourselves in this combustion upon arriving, striking out, descending the plane. Anyplace urban landscape. The megapolis, turn left, now on the street, now see an anchor, cars, salesman, tarred roofs, chipped walls with stale graffiti. How to label, name which urban here this? Is this city is? Cars, license plates, post office color schemes? Nothing entirely distinct in this mental asylum for the masses to call home, pressed close up against one another so our breath puffs out into each other’s faces as we stand, step back, hesitate, wait. The image. It must be. Coming clear now. In the fumes of the onscreen presence of the urban cityscape as the camera captures a rush, blur, rush, blur of concrete. This. Stability.

--written after:
 André Lehmann: experimental cinematographer
3 Videos shown as part of the Regional 17 at Kunsthaus Baselland-Basel: 
Westside Highway NY77, 1977 (super 8, 9:30min) 
Manhattan 8 Standorte, 1977 (super 8, 10:30min)
Bilder aus Städten: London, Istanbul, Toronto, 2000-2004 (super 8, 10:40min)