Robert Hamilton

2000, 03:50 minutes, colour, english/dutch


The title of the video Velserbroek is taken from the name of a neighborhood outside of Haarlem, The Netherlands. The neighborhood is an example of what is referred to in Holland as "Social Architecture." It is a massive housing complex similar in many ways to a typical American suburb. However, the scale in which the Dutch housing divisions are built is significantly different. Currently there are complexes being built that contain over 8,000 residences. The complexes are also referred to as "Phoenix" complexes.

While visiting Velserbroek I was struck by the near absence of people. It was nearly empty. It seemed that documenting the emptiness of what was projected as "Social Architecture" could be ironic. I took the idea one step further by digitally erasing all traces of cars, bikes and people from the video. I have enhanced the emptiness and other-worldliness. I created the video with a consumer digital still camera resulting in a sort of time-lapse motion photography. The video is actually hundreds of still images edited together.

The video is an exploration of the familiarity of "home" in a slightly surreal manner. I have chosen the subject of new houses in Holland as a metaphor for the sense of alienation and displacement of the traditional idea of home; familiar yet foreign.

This work has grown out of a trajectory of animation & time-lapse studies which I began doing a few years ago. It started with a GameBoy Camera and scanning the
stickers it creates, then a Web Cam connected to a laptop, and more recently a digital still camera. The idea has always been to be mobile and discreet, collect images from real life, and to string the images together in to some sort of animated and cohesive whole. I’ve chosen a tool, a digital still camera that is somewhat intimate or at least does not invade privacy in the same way as a person carrying around a video camera does. The audio is recorded separately and has a contrapuntal relationship with the images.

The technique used in all of my recent work is pixillation animation or time-lapse animation. Which in this case means it is shot frame by frame with a digital still camera on a tripod. The shooting is a laborious process: a day shoot typically results in one minute of video.
This work can be displayed either as single channel or as an installation.

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