VERTICES


2003-2005, 32 min, 43 sec, Color/B&W
©Muqarnas Film

Vertices (2005) from Hisham Bizri on Vimeo.

Conception, Cinematography, Editing & Sound: Hisham Bizri
Location Shooting: Beirut, Lebanon; Seoul, South Korea; Dublin, Ireland

About

Vertices: Beirut-Dublin-Seoul is a Polyvision* video capturing fragments of a day in the life of each city. Simple scenes from every day life are recorded with a video camera, following in the tradition of the documentaries of the Lumière films. Each shot lasts 50 seconds, the approximate time a film reel lasted in early cinema.
Although the succession of "cinematic" images enforces this objectivity as they record different units of perception, placing the images in a triptych creates a landscape that is entirely subjective, existing for the viewer as objects of contemplation. The concrete and objective realism of the photographic world is rendered through the "composed-subjective-masked" properties of a playful cinematic montage.

First, montage within the image, forming time structures of varying speeds, color, size, and movement, while maintaining the 50-second duration of each shot. Second, montage outside the image, in the way the three screens are arranged side-by-side forming a contiguous space. The resulting single screen (landscape) presents three separate images at once: the two outside images often create a counterpoint to the central one as they are accelerated, slowed down, frozen, colorized, and morphed. These images are continuously being interrupted by newsreel footage of wars from the three cities transforming the 50-second shots from the rituals of everyday life into an historical time.

The audio component enhances the viewing experience as well. Each of the three screens duplicates, repeats, and extends the found sounds, evolving into a single audio track with multiple layers of counterpoint city sounds: trucks, cars, planes, and trains, intermixed with momentary bits here and there of speech, screams, wind, sea, and so forth.

The meaning of Vertices therefore cannot be understood simply by a summary of what it's plot. It is the form of the ensemble, that is the flux of image and sound, which contains the meaning, a form that is direct, yet as abstract as music, in which the audience experiences a sense of loss and immaterial time.

*I devised this wide-screen process employing one camera and three projectors.