Conveyors (HBG)

-Towards Uncertain Address

By Anders Weberg and Robert Willim (2010)

A traffic hub is intended to provide predictable movement and transport. But you never quite know which motions and emotions will occur. So, how to depict or make sense of these kind of sites? One way is to make a number of films, and to use conveyors as a metaphor.

The site for this project is the traffic hub Knutpunkten in Helsingborg, southern Sweden. How could experiences of everyday flow that merge with the unpredictable be illustrated here? How can the kinaesthetic, distributed, fleeting and affective dimensions of city life be evoked?

A conveyor is a physical transporting tool. But we use it to describe mainly affective or psychogeographical movements. Six short films made out of sound and video from different spots in Knutpunkten are the conveyors. The chosen spots work as emotional and associative starting points for the conveyors, which don’t transport you mechanically towards predicted goals, but instead more unpredictable addresses are called forth. We have embraced the diffracting and the irregular, in order to reach beyond visions of strategic and panoptic clarity of traffic flow or CCTV safety in public spaces.

Hundred years ago a pioneering way to represent life and movement in the city would be the creation of a city symphony. When this art form had its heyday during the 1920’s it was an intriguing way to use emerging film technology. City symphonies were part documentary, part affective travelogue and part evocation of the temporal shifts characterizing everyday life in a city. Walter Ruttman’s film Berlin: Symphony of a Great City (1927) is a prominent example. Using novel editing techniques Dziga Vertov’s Man with a Movie Camera (1929) is another groundbreaking example. There are other examples from that time, and since then a number of variations on the city symphony theme has been produced.

City symphonies have been a source of inspiration, but when approaching the traffic hub Knutpunkten we wanted to extend or twist the concept. We took the idea of movements of a symphony and distributed them into a spatial or psychogeographical layout. Instead of creating a number of symphonic movements in a sequence, we created the six conveyors.

People visit a traffic hub for different reasons; their lives have different trajectories. Some pass through while others return. Others idle. In this space of flows the conveyors are brought to work. They will work in several contexts, but to fully enjoy them they should be used at Knutpunkten. Download them to a mobile media player when you are there and find the spots where the material was recorded. The perceptions of your specific time spent at Knutpunkten will blend with the mediated sound and images from screen and headphones. This blend may provide a reflexive feedback loop between the physical kinaesthetic experience and what is conveyed through the player.

Below are links to files associated with six different spots at (or aspects of) Knutpunkten. In the meny up to the right the six films are also composed to a single film.

Escalator
Download film as mp4 | 3gp

Hall
Download film as mp4 | 3gp

Lot
Download film as mp4 | 3gp

Monument
Download film as mp4 | 3gp

Platform
Download film as mp4 | 3gp

Portal
Download film as mp4 | 3gp

Conveyors (HBG) was part of a research and documentation project conducted by The Department of Arts and Cultural Sciences at Lund University. The project was commissioned by Helsingborgs stad.

One Response to Conveyors (HBG)

  1. Conveyors may not be a very glamourous area, but in today’s mad world, we’d be lost if they weren’t there. Parcels would never get delivered, items would get broken as they were handed from person to person. And the thing is that not all conveyors are the same, and nor are the businesses that make them. I have been chatting to Rusmail in the UK and I can tell you that they know conveyors inside out!

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