Rockface II/Streaming Video
Simon Fraser University Surrey
Citation: Bizzocchi, Jim. “Rockface II/Streaming Video.” Hyperrhiz: New Media Cultures, no. 6, 2009. doi:10.20415/hyp/006.g02
Abstract: Two ambient video works by Jim Bizzocchi. Rockface II revisions the classic landscapes of the Canadian Rockies, using transition to systematically deconstruct and recombine the mountain scenery. Streaming Video consists of water images from the Canadian Rockies.
I am working in the emerging genre of Ambient Video. Ambient video is not designed to seize and hold our attention. To paraphrase Brian Eno, ambient video must be as easy to ignore as it is to notice. However, it must reward viewer attention whenever it is bestowed. Further, because ambient video pieces are intended to hang on the walls of our domestic and public spaces, it must be capable of yielding visual pleasure over repeated viewings. Sometimes called "video painting", this form is situated in an intermedia space that draws on traditions of fine art, photography, cinema and video.
My work is a repudiation of standard cinematic conventions of time and space. The work completely abandons the cut, along with its reductionist illusion of instant and invisible transition. It never hides transition - rather it celebrates it within an ongoing visual dialectic of connection and change. Landscape, detail, form and transition are fused within an organic unity of space and time.
Time and space are also directly manipulated. Subject speed is either slowed down or sped up in most of the shots, sometimes using both effects in different portions of the same shot. Cinematic space is first fragmented, then recombined. Shots are deconstructed into visual elements, and these elements are slowly introduced on top of the existing scene, until they completely replace it - and a new scene has been created. This process continues throughout the film, as one landscape forms over the other in an endless chain.
Rockface II revisions the classic landscapes of the Canadian Rockies, using transition to systematically deconstruct and recombine the mountain scenery. In the process, the work explores concepts of pictorialism, scale, time and metamorphosis. At the same time, it examines liminality of narrative through the introduction of subtly embedded human imagery.
Streaming Video consists of water images from the Canadian Rockies. The water gradually grows from slow gentle streams to large impressive cascades. The making of the film reflects the qualities of the subject: the motion of water that ultimately supports all life. The combination of shutter speed manipulation with slow motion rendering imbues the piece with grace and power.