An Automatic Telematic Cover Version (2:50 min, SD video with sound)
Antonion’s Il deserto rosso opens with a montage of shots that show the film’s most characteristic setting: Ravenna’s industrial plants and harbor, shot with a long lens, out of focus. The picture is flat, abstract, painterly.
Not only is this a good backdrop for the opening credits, but it also hints at how the characters are (aesthetically) at the mercy of their dystopic industrial environment. The camera can only scan this landscape with slow pans, it cannot penetrate it.
There are about fifteen (deliberately or accidentally) public webcams in Ravenna. Hidden in the web of the regional internet’s sub-pages, they gaze askew at the city center, the pier, the marina, hotels, beaches and the airport. Even when somebody stumbles into frame, their image exists only for a brief
moment on a screen: still shots that refresh once per hour, minute or second.
I build an apparatus which takes its time to watch their feeds and condenses them for me. It smoothes the time-lapse jitter; cropping and blowing up the image reduce the often poor quality even further. People leave only vague traces, while wandering shadows accentuate the architectural bodies.
A computer plays the original score on a piano, despite not being very good at it.
- My capturing code: github.com/bikubi/webcamlurk
- It ran on a Raspi 1
- My smoothing code: github.com/bikubi/image-sequence-blender
- Audio via WaoN & Timidity