Taking a spin on the trusty old Google I find my old film professor Phil Solomon has been up to something new. I knew him for films made from heavily treated and painstakingly re-printed 8mm footage, films full of magical, tactile textures, of which these jpgs are but a sorry shadow (go here to see what this sort of thing looks like in motion):
In the eight or so years since I was in school, it seems he’s gotten up to something else entirely — a series of non-narrative (and violence-free) digital videos made using landscapes and characters from the Grand Theft Auto games*:
My first reaction was that old jealous “I wish I’d thought of that” feeling. It’s a brilliant concept, and if anyone can carry it off with sensitivity, it’s Phil. I’ve spent many, many hours playing these games, often freely roaming around the landscapes, soaking in the weather, the light. I should have been capturing footage, not hijacking police cars.
The move to video is surprising enough—he, like most everyone on the experimental side of the Colorado film department, was a die-hard celluloid addict, an old-school film-in-a-bucket type. But it’s the decision to use video games as a starting point that’s almost shocking—not so much Dylan goes electric as maybe Elliott Carter making ringtones, or Gerhard Richter doing Windows desktop icons.
Here he is talking to an Ohio newspaper about a show and installation in Columbus, more or less summing up the whole series. Now all that remains is to actually go and see the things.
*—yes I know there’s a whole genre devoted to this sort of thing but I don’t think I’m being overly snobbish in saying this isn’t exactly Sims sitcoms or Warcraft porn.