Calle 22 isn’t just a lively city street in Bogota, it's also the name of conceptual artist Julius von Bismarck’s latest art film project screening at the Alexander Levy Gallery. No stranger to guerrilla art-filmmaking actions, Bismarck shoots the south side of the street at 2,500 frames-per-second from the back seat of a pickup. As the vehicle zips down the street, his special high-speed camera and spotlight combo captures pockets of life seemingly frozen in time like deer in headlights. The footage in Calle 22 makes the suburban street look almost like a painting—as if someone has pressed the pause button on life. But if you look carefully, you see that the characters in the film are still moving, just very slowly. This is what happens when you shoot in super-slow-motion whilst moving at an accelerated rate. In a way, Bismarck is demonstrating the way bees and other fast-flying insects see the world.
Within the course of the film, the camera car moves from the more affluent corners of the street to those less well off, capturing a city’s wealth disparity within the span of a single street. Originally from Germany, Bismarck asserts the issue of the outside gaze on the social strata of another country. His use of a spotlight references Western photography’s intrusive and often invasive quality seen in Western reports of other cultures. The Alexander Levy Gallery writes, “Through the fast drive of the pickup and the conical light of the spotlight, individual scenes are focused and the people of Bogota portrayed as if by accident, because until they have realized the moment of the shot, the camera is already ahead.”
The artist shared a short excerpt from the film on his website. Check out below:
Julius von Bismarck’s Calle 22 will be screening at the Alexander Levy Gallery from December 9 to December 21. For more information about the show, click on the event’s Facebook page. For more work by the artist, head over to his website.