Mutable Commute

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2001/2003, miniDV, color/sound, 30 mins.

Mutable Commute is an abstracted evocation of the body in transit, its strengths and vulnerabilities, and the harsh permeability of the machines and buildings that transport the body through, and contain it within, the urban environment. Mutable Commute also explores the cyclical nature of human survival as workers inhabit the quiet sterility of their offices and other public spaces, performing cyborgian movements which are part physical, part cerebral, part mechanical, and part digital.

The segments in Suite for VCRs on each video cassette were edited in one of two ways. The first is what I call a "progressive loop," where the clip is repeated a number of times, but the beginning and ending points of the clip move forward a couple of frames at each iteration. Therefore most of the image is repeated, but it changes slightly as the beginning of the clip gets chopped off and a few frames get added at the end. This allows the viewer to key into the internal rhythm of the clip, while watching it grow and evolve into something else. The second editing technique uses a random video editing program, which I created on the computer for this project. It reads a list of video clips and reassembles them randomly into a sequence which seems oddly outside the realm of human intention.

Mutable Commute is performed using three VCRs and three monitors, where the performer inserts tapes in a partly random matter to make the sounds and images play with and against each other. The piece is also available as a single channel video, which lasts about 30 minutes.