October 11, 2018
With all the talk in the City about the poor and overcrowded state of the subways, I thought it would be a nice time to revisit this video of mine – 40 years old! – made as an homage to the trains. It is followed by a clip paying homage to 2001 which uses some of the same visual themes.
I made the piece during a summer class in video at NYU. The camera was about the size of a very large dictionary, and the the recording mechanism was slung over your shoulder and weighed a ton! I converted the video from 3/4″ tape to DVD several years ago at a video restoration lab in San Francisco.
The late sequence of the train moving through the tunnel as the Saint-Saëns music builds to a climax links the piece to the following bit inspired by 2001 and my night driving on the NJ turnpike. I have always been a time-space traveler! 🙂
These videos, and others I have made, are available on my MUNDO VIDEO!! page at this blog.
August 10, 2011
Initiating conversations with strangers on the NYC subway is not something I do often: there’s too much uncertainty about the possible responses. Yesterday, however, I broke my rule when I found myself crushed against the door of a crowded train next to a young man with a tattoo on his inner forearm just like the image above. After screwing up my resolve, I quietly asked, “Are you a Pynchon fan?” His eyes lit up, and he replied, “Yes, I am a Pynchon fan! How many people get that!”
For those not in the know, the symbol is a post-horn (used by mail carriers in Europe) and it figures prominently in Pynchon’s only short novel, The Crying of Lot 49. It’s bound up with the history of the noble family, von Thurn und Taxis (here’s one of them) and their role in setting up one of the first national systems for moving mail. A rare stamp for sale (crying a lot is an old bit of jargon – obsolete, I was told by a gentleman from Swann Galleries – that means putting an item up for auction) that shows a mail delivery airplane, accidentally printed upside-down, is the source of the title and the key to the mystery of the book.
“Hmm..,” I replied. “Don’t go overboard..,” I said, obliquely referring to all that conspiracy-paranoia stuff in Pynchon’s oeuvre. Wonder if he caught my meaning.
Here is a link to all my posts tagged Pynchon.
October 8, 2010
A video I created as a summer student at NYU using 5-inch tape reels and a very heavy recorder with a bulky camera. Editing resources were extremely crude. I’ve cleaned it up a bit, but the quality suffers from thirty years of sitting in a crate.
Music by Saint-Saens. My world.