Developing ‘Parallel’

I completed Parallel about a year and a half ago. It was made from a 02:56 length single-take piece of iPhone footage shot from a train window at night, returning from Victoria to East Croydon. It films a train on parallel tracks, which keeps this adjacent relationship on the approach and departure from Clapham Junction station.The edit works with this original footage, zooming in on it, slowing it down. The resulting film considers the parallel worlds within the carriages of an adjacent train, entering and leaving “Britain’s busiest railway station”. Most passengers merely pass through or interchange at the station, heading for other destinations. For these people the space of the station exists isolated from the world beyond, their view limited to that through their train window, or from the platforms and linking bridge. Figures are glimpsed through the windows of the parallel train, and their narratives imagined, before they slide off, the tracks diverging, separating the spaces that were momentarily drawn together by the infrastructure of the station.

On re-watching this recently I found the most compelling sections to be the slowed down close-ups of the adjacent train windows (at around 00:30 and 02:40). In these shots the people in the carriages were more individually distinct, and the slowed down footage (in this case slowed to around 5% of real time – or a temporal scale of 20:1) held these uncanny moments, and then allowed them to slip away. I wanted to make a new film, which just focused on individual windows.

These are the first two new clips, where the individual windows shown in the original Parallel film are extracted from the surrounding windows. I settled on a slow-down of 10%, or 10:1 scale, as this retained the uncanny temporal quality, while allowing the movement of the people to be registered. Unlike in Parallel, I have retained the sound as recorded, slowed to to match the speed of the image.

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