"I first noticed subway tunnel wall animations in Boston, where the long gaps between stations on the MBTA Red Line provides a captive audience. The animation, composed of dozens of stills that simulated movement as the train zoomed by, was an ad. The message: visit Vermont and its great outdoors, which certainly must have resonated with more than a few claustrophobes riding the crowded rush hour rails.
Animated ads in subway tunnels are expensive, both to design and install, which helps explain why the Vermont ad's successor, a campaign for a movie 'coming to theatres' last February, was only removed recently - with no ready replacement. But the medium is a popular one, if only because it's relatively novel and rare. Examples from Budapest, Hong Kong, Kiev, L.A., Tokyo, and Washington, D.C. have been enthusiastically documented for upload to YouTube. And given that cash-strapped transit agencies have allowed almost every other subway surface to be colonized by ad space, including seats and whole exteriors of rolling stock, it was almost a logical next step.
Much of the credit for introducing these flipbook or zoetrope-like ads goes to two independent innovators: New York astrophysics student Joshua Spodek and Winnipeg animator Bradley Caruk. Spodek's ads debuted in Atlanta in 2001; his company, Sub Media, continues to produce similar ads today. In 2006, Caruk won a Manning Innovation Award for his concept, which his partner, Rob Walker, first thought up while staring at the blank walls of Paris' Metro. The company they co-founded, SideTrack Technologies, set up its first system in Kuala Lumpur and has since opened others across the United States - and beyond, to London, Rio de Janeiro, and cities in Mexico."
(Christopher Szabla, Urbanphoto, 20 November 2010)
Fig.1 Bill Brand, "Masstransiscipe" New York subway installation.
Fig.2 New ad-places in the tunnel. // Новые рекламные площади в тунеле киевского метро. Между станциями Лукьяновская и Львовская Брама
Fig.3 "Something Cool in L.A. Subways", Uploaded by TransformedMan on 23 May 2008.
Fig.4 "Tokyo Subway Ad ", Uploaded by ivanptse on 19 Apr 2008.
Fig.5 "Target ad, on the washington D.C subway.", Uploaded by kikyobackfromthedead on 1 Sep 2006.
"Science-fiction films tell us as much about the time in which they were made as the future they project and between the two moments – the one specific, the other nominal (1984, 2001, etc) – a sense develops of their qualities of prescience and allegorical vision. The enterprise of proposing a world-to-be is always a hostage to the future's fortune. The law of diminishing returns that applies as regards special effects bears this out. How soon before Matrix-era 'bullet time' looks as dated as Douglas Trumbull's 'star gate' pyrotechnics in 2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick, 1968)? Which may explain why Alphaville hasn't aged as badly as other examples of the genre; it finds its 'special effect' in the specifically cinematic resource of light.
But this light, let's remind ourselves, is the light of the past brought to bear on the presence of the future now. Would it be going too far to suggest that, in adding the dimensions of past and future to the present of 1965, Godard was able to set the controls of his particular time machine to withstand the very test of time? There's no shortage of films that seek to travel in time following Alphaville, from Blade Runner (Ridley Scott, 1982) and Mauvais sang (Leos Carax, 1986) to Gattaca (Andrew Niccol, 1997) and Dark City (Alex Proyas, 1998). There is also the developing genre of what critic Jonathan Romney has named 'steel and glass cinema' which he describes 'as cinema set in the recognisably contemporary urban world but framed and shot in such a way that it becomes detached, not unreal so much as irreal, bordering on science fiction', examples of which include Elle est des nôtres (She's a Jolly Good Fellow, Seigrid Alnoy, 2002), Demonlover (Olivier Assayas, 2002), Cypher (Vincenzo Natali, 2002) and Code 46 (Michael Winterbottom, 2003). Romney claims Alphaville to be 'the mother' of such cinema and with good reason. In the forty or so years separating Alphaville from Demonlover it has become evident that the no-place of Godard's dystopia, with its labyrinth of corridors and lobbies, was already one big non-place in waiting. The presence of the future that Godard was keen to capture back in 1965 has since taken shape as a global nonplace crossing continents and time-zones. 'It may be that we have already dreamed our dream of the future', J.G. Ballard has mused, 'and have woken with a start into a world of motorways, shopping malls and airport concourses which lie around us like a first instalment of a future that has forgotten to materialize.' Or, to put it another way, Alphaville exists. Everywhere."
(Chris Darke, Vertigo Magazine)
This is an edited extract from Chris Darke’s monograph on J-L Godard’s Alphaville to be published by I.B.Tauris in 2005. Chris Darke is a writer, critic and lecturer on the moving image. His book of selected writings, Light Readings, is published by Wallflower Press. He is also represented, with his film study Chris on Chris, on the DVD of La Jetée and Sans Soleil. See also pages 26 and 38.
"Liminal spaces are the spaces in between, thresholds or transitions from one state or space to another.[...]Thresholds and windows are boundaries between inside and outside, public and private; in a car, we experience space in motion, constantly adjusting our perspective.[...]The artists in the exhibition are interested in moments of disjunction where perception is momentarily put into question and the liminal is revealed, challenging the viewer to make connections between one context of meaning and another."
(Center for Curatorial Studies and Art in Contemporary Culture, Bard College)
I am a citizen of Charles De Gaulle Airport. -Marham Karimi NasseriDue to a bureaucratic glitch a airline traveller, Mr Nasseri was trapped in the non-place of the transit lounge in the Charles De Gaulle Airport at Roissy, France. For 11 years Nasseri shaved and washed in the passenger facilities, and kept himself occupied watching the eb and flow of the airport traffic. Despite intentions to settle in London in 1988 he was forced to make-do in a bubble of fast-food stores and gift shops until being freed by the actions of a human rights lawyer in 1999.