Pacific Surfliner: San Juan Capistrano

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Pacific Surfliner is one in a series of videos that map the route of the Pacific Surfliner along the California coast – San Diego to San Luis Obispo.  In so doing, they trace a kind of life story of a certain generation in time – arrivals and departures over the years, joy and loss. While *San Juan Capistrano* is a kind of central piece, touching on many life transformations, each piece takes a central emotion from its location.  The individual videos are layered with images, sound, and text –experimenting with storytelling modes.  

Contributors note: 

 

Spoken screens:  the gap between presence and performance.  One of the challenging issues with e-literature has been the relationship between reading a work and watching it performed.  Some time-based or video work discourages the performative reading aspect altogether.  Pacific Surfliner suggests a new approach – a text-rich, time-based piece that can be performed (or read silently).

Tools at hand/gaps in the field: The rapid turnover of software has changed the nature of e-lit production.  On the one hand, large universities and labs with extensive resources allow for experimenting with expensive, cutting-edge technology.  The “cottage-industry” artist, working at home [once a staple of emerging e-lit work], is pushed, more and more, into the need to use mass-produced, widely available tools.  Whatever is at hand, whenever one starts to work….  Pacific Surfliner is made from smart phone videos and images, off-the-shelf video editing tools, recycled and re-edited audio tracks, and published with Vimeo.

The Pacific Surfliner works continue my career-long experiments with narrative structure and the blending of sensory media.  The layering of time and space, the merging of history and private symbolism and events, and the presence of multiple voices are all part of the storyline.  Each element: text, image, sound, and structure is almost equally important in conveying information about the story world. 

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Li Yi