Chatonsky | Vertigo@home | Contextual Research

Chatonsky and the project ‘Vertigo@home’ is an interesting project in which he used google street view to recreate a scene from the 1958 film by Hitchcock, while using the soundtrack from the original film. This creates a bizarre union between sound and the visual which separate expectations between the ritualistic acts of using google street view and watching a film for pleasure. 

When one uses google street view they are active in choosing the route or place they are trying to get to, assuming the the operator is using it for a purpose and not to roam around. In watching a film the audience is positioned as passive although the ideas of active and passive spectatorship are aknowledged. 

In a personal sense, the interest here is the collision between the act of the functional with the act of pleasure by consuming art. The result is a mediated experience where one experiences the disjuncture between these two rituals, the functional, and pleasure. Sprengler (2014) comments on the ‘Although google Streetview offers us a virtual tour of San Fransisco, its images are read as real.’ However the score invites us to scrutinise the audio and I would argue that the music begins to dominate the consumption of the text which is rare as the sound/score of a film is often used to punctuate the visuals to bring understanding to the audience. In this case, conventions are deliberately subverted and provide a further passive experience here.

One may compare this text with the act of a teenager watching a video game walkthrough on YouTube. Not playing the game, but watching someone else play a game. 

The outcome of this project in synthesising the non-diegetic audio with the functional visuals of google street serves to produce a strange juxtoposition between science and art. Baudrillard makes ralatable conclusions when considering the book ‘Crash’ (Ballard 1973:116). The book explores a community who seek pleasure and sexual gratification with victims of car crashes.

Boudrillard comments ‘It is not a question of orgasm, but of pure and simple discharge. And the coitus and sperm that traverse the book have no more sensual value than the filigree of wounds has violent meaning, even metaphorically speaking. They are nothing but signatures’.  

Vertigo@home may be relatable to the ideas perpetuated by Baudrillard in relation to the google street view images rendering them as ’signatures of the film’. The images are not, and never will be part of the film however the route depicted will always have a vague association.

The google street view images are not loaded with intentional ambiguity for the meaning making process in the cinema or literary world, much in the way that Baudrillard (1982: 115)  highlights the language used by Ballard (1973) to seperate the literary discourse ‘Here, all the erotic terms are technical. No ass, no dick… But the anus, the rectum… No slang, that is to say no intimacy of sexual violence. But a functional language’. Here is where I draw similarities with the functional nature of the google street view in order to produce vertigo@home. 

In conclusion the project may support the idea of being a type of re-photography project, even a simulacra of sorts to produce a phantasms. The project also illustrates the possibilities of the ‘virtual’ by using technology sich as google street view in combination with texts such as classic films such as Vertigo. 

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