by Almudena Escobar López
Gradual Speed explores the relationship between time and light in film by literally stretching the usual speed of 24 frames per second and its exposure in each shot. Starting with a neutral white on screen the images slowly emerge to eventually disappear again into black.
Different images of water, animals, objects and events that van Riel collected since 2008 appear and disappear in the film dealing with loss, nostalgia and the creation of memory. Are we able to capture time with a camera and observe it closer?
This contemplative imaginary allows observing carefully the detailed changes in time, light, movement while thinking about the perceptive exercise of everyday life.
Changing manually the light of the print from a ‘white on white effect’ makes the forms and its connection with the real world be diluted while constructing a new aesthetic language of pure feeling. In this way, Gradual Speed shows the process of filmmaking, the memory of the processing, the pose of time keeping, what van Riel calls “the light traces of other bodies.” An image of an image that is not there anymore over the surface of a physical film object that becomes on its own a sculpture, a space where images fluctuate leaving its imprint.
This settle perception game is well accompanied by a crackling sound that seems to be created by the print itself but that has been carefully put together by recording it from an Eiki projector modulating its volume. Thus, the soundtrack is also a shadow from another print that appears and disappears making people more aware of the presence of the print-sculpture.
Gradual Speed images unpack in an unusual slowly pace in front of the screen even thought is barely perceive by the human eye, while the constant crackling ‘of expectation’ drives the audiences to a deep meditative space. In this way, Gradual Speed explores the experience of movement and moment to its extreme becoming a unique philosophical experience, which overcomes any symbolism or narrative.
52 ANN ARBOR FILM FESTIVAL – GUS VAN SANT FOR BEST EXPERIMENTAL FILM
Director: Els Van Riel (http://www.elsvanriel.be/)