Legends of Michigami: Riding the Rust Belt

Description (in English): 

Riding the Rust Belt is one in a series of (hyper)videos that comprise the Legends of Michigami project. The videos map the routes of trains along the shores of Lake Michigan. These works trace a drama of the western Great Lakes – stories revealed in place and landscape. The persistent motion of the train is metaphoric for time passing whether we want it so or not – for the way human beings (in the name of progress or circumstance) are swept up in inevitable social and economic shifts. Riding the Rust Belt addresses the evolution of industrial cities on the shores of Lake Michigan. It takes place in one day: a ride from Millennium Station in Chicago to Gary, Indiana. 25 miles on the ground and decades back in time. Although Riding the Rust Belt can be read on a variety of platforms (mobile, tablet, desktop), viewed quickly or by stopping the video to examine specific frames, it is perhaps best enjoyed as a performance. I would like to do a live reading of this piece – and if that is not possible, submit it to the gallery. The performance will include three minutes of background explanation and a showing/reading of Riding the Rust Belt (5.34 minutes). Riding the Rust Belt continues my experiments with narrative structure - the layering of time and space, the merging of history with private events, the juxtaposition of place and memory. The temporal gaps and the imaginative space of the in-between invite the reader to enter into the visual space and complete the world. But it also involves some new directions and experiments with storytelling modes, some specific aesthetic and technical issues. The rapid turnover of software has changed the nature of e-lit production. On the one hand, affiliation with large universities or labs with extensive resources can afford practitioners with cutting-edge technology. Conversely, the “cottage-industry” artist, working at home [once a staple of emerging e-lit work], moves, more and more, into the use of mass-produced, widely available tools. Riding the Rust Belt is made from smartphone videos and images, off-the-shelf editing tools for video, image, and sound, and recycled and re-edited audio tracks. It is published with Vimeo.

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Vian Rasheed