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Video Works : Circle Trafalgar Square (2012)

a still from Circle Trafalgar Square

In Circle Trafalgar Square I explore two of my favourite subjects: large public spaces (and the way the public inhabits them), and the invisible patterns inscribed by movements across time. Working with footage taken from the roof of Canada House, I teased out two very different interpretations of the actions taking place in and around Trafalgar Square. In one channel, I have foregrounded the active things: people, pigeons, cars, buses and flags while shrouding the unmoving bricks, mortar and monuments in a dense fog. Each person is separate and distinct, precisely located in space and time. In the other channel, flipped to mirror the first, I have etched the trajectory of each moving object into the image to build up layers of overlapping paths. Vehicles inscribe smooth arcs as they negotiate the roundabout at one end of the square. Pedestrians wander, gesture, climb, and wait to cross streets, smear across the square like daubs of paint, drawing out kinaesthetic signatures, white shoes marking dashes along the pavement as they rest on the ground a moment before taking another step. Pigeons wheel and spiral freely above the tightly scripted traffic. The two channels converge in the middle, the symmetry clarifying the differences. On one hand we see a multitude of individual and somewhat isolated agents, predominantly vertical in aspect, punctuating the space. On the other, we see time thicken, movements extending into articulate traces revealing the dynamic churn of activity in this public space shaped by the social and architectural constructs of this circle and square.


Jim Campbell and David Rokeby, Pari Nadimi Gallery, Toronto, Canada
Art and Drinks, Toronto, Canada

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Copyright 2010 David Rokeby / Very Nervous Systems / All rights reserved. 11/24/10