Ian Flitman is a video artist working in adaptive media narratives. Born in the UK where he currently resides in London looking for the exit door again. Previous destinations have included Milan, and more latterly Istanbul where he made /Hackney Girl/, which has been widely exhibited. It is a video diary about moving from London to Istanbul in 2002. This love-story cum road movie edits itself each time it plays creating countless remembrances of a differently nuanced past.
title Jane Script Generator
year of production 2006-7
used technology (software etc) Flash AS3, php, writing constraints
/Jane/ is a series of filmed conversations between two friends, Jake and John, who talk about a mysterious woman they share, the eponymous Jane. This makes /Jane/ a menage a trois with a common but uncontested point of love interest. On the face of it Jake and John are the best of friends. Then again, John could be simply Jake when he is older, more stoic or bitterly benign depending on your point of view or the lines you have selected.
For this is an interactive open text with multiple pathways evenly distributed in its cloud of conversation narrative. /Jane/’s current incarnation is as a scenario generator that algorithmically creates different dialogues between its protagonists and then makes them available for adaptation by the reader-cum-user. Each scenario can be saved as a text file thus preserving any individual’s preferences of dialogue.
‘Hackney Girl’ is a DVD Rom for Windows that explores new narrative structures in digitally expanded cinema. It can be viewed one to one via the computer screen, or be data-projected in a constant loop in a gallery space for a more communal cinematic experience. It also exists at a lower resolution on the website www.blipstation.com.
The piece is a video-wall diary describing the English artist’s journey from Hackney, London where there are significant immigrant populations of Turkish extraction, to Istanbul in Turkey where he decided to live. It is a love story documenting the artist’s involvement with Hackney Girl’s eponymous heroine, Yasemin Güvenç, a Turkish actress, who went back to Istanbul to work.
A central theme is that of environments and the people that populate them. As such it is a visual meditation on place and displacement. The work draws on a visual library of nearly 600 stills and over 550 short movie clips to present this visual collage of static shots and moving images that also end in a freeze photo frame. This along with the three by three grid of alternately filling and emptying screens provides the piece’s staccato rhythm.
The story is dynamically edited at runtime producing an endless variety of cuts and differently nuanced versions of the same basic narrative. It is impossible to see the same version twice. Each film can last between 12 and 18 minutes depending on the shot selection determined by the computer. Thus it also explores the new possibilities of narrative in digital mediated film. Our memories like the piece itself constantly reselect and exclude events to transform our past anew. It should be thus seen twice for its unique properties to be appreciated and understood. Then the act of viewing becomes something else: an exercise in pattern recognition.
The piece poses questions both about editorial control and the possibility of random access memory archived in a self-determining yet rule based form. It quotes sources as diverse as Freud, Bubba Sparxxx, Turkish Pop Cinema and John Keats, whose lines from Ode to Psyche encapsulate its central aesthetic:
‘With all the gardener Fancy e’er could feign
Who breeding flowers, will never breed the same’
‘Hackney Girl’ has been shown in over a dozen media art festivals and galleries around the world including FILE in Brasil, EMAF in Germany and won the Best Narrative Award at the Flash In The Can Festival in Toronto in 2004. It is also on several university reading lists including MIT as a work of reference regarding non-linear narrative in film. The artist is now based in London.