360 (2012-2015) Twelve channel video installation
360 is a 12 channel multimedia installation. It is a year-long cycle of observations presented simultaneously in 360 degrees. This project blurs the boundaries between scientific research, voyeurism, photo-journalism, street photography, geopolitical documentation, personal journal, and art.
When I first moved to Berlin, I didn’t know anyone and could not speak the language. It was the first time I truly understood what immigrants to my home country of Canada must have felt like when they originally arrived. I was a complete outsider, a stranger in a strange land. There was fear and loneliness but at the same time there was excitement and hope.
I decided to embrace the position of outsider in order to operate as a visual anthropologist. From this position, the ordinary and the mundane became fascinating. It was a way of seeing the world with fresh eyes. I spent a year recording Berlin’s urban landscape and the everyday activities and rituals of the city’s human inhabitants.
The data has been compiled into twelve films based on the twelve 30° divisions of the Earth’s ecliptic known as the zodiac. Each video corresponds to the 30 day period of a particular zodiac. Together the twelve videos comprise an entire year of surveillances. The videos are arranged in a circle facing inward with light-box images of the related star constellations facing out.
During the filming of this project, I found inspiration in Walter Ruttmann’s 1927 film Berlin: Die Sinfonie der Großstadt. Unlike, Ruttmann however, I had no way to communicate with my subjects or have permission to film them. I was also operating in a post Stasi and post Nazi era when there is still lingering suspicion of being observed, and spied on by one’s neighbors. I concocted many methodologies to work covertly. Like any good anthopologist, I tried to record my subjects in their natural habitate with as little interference as possible.
360 represents one complete revolution of the Earth around the Sun as witnessed from street level. A revolution is also a cycle of social change. During the past one hundred years, Berlin has been the flashpoint for two world wars and ground zero of the cold war. It is a place that shaped the social, political and psychological landscape of the twentieth century.
In spite of, or maybe because of Berlin’s past, my recorded observations for this art project show a humanity that is not divided by its differences but rather united through its similarities. We witness gestures and expressions that span across cultures and start to form a universal language of the human condition.