Muri Romani is I suppose a kind of documentary in a somewhat
radical form. In appearance it is utter simplicity: the image of a patch
of wall in Rome, today. As one watches the wall seems to change, invisibly,
without technical means. The sound is a collage of street sounds: motorinos,
bells, people talking, trams, sirens -- the daily sounds of central
Somewhere in the passage of watching I think the viewer - at least those
tolerant of such a kind of work, so antithetical to normal film expectations
- begins to ponder the passage of time, of history, and perhaps in some
odd way, the meaning of life. Or at least that is my intention and hope.
The work is composed of some 280 “still” shots taken with
a DV camera, which were carefully edited in a long sequence of continuous
dissolves. Editing decisions were based on the aesthetic commonality
between images so that one does not “see” a dissolve, but
rather the image seems only to change in time. Philosophically and artistically
in my mind it was akin to setting up a camera and leaving it for 2000
years, and compressing the shot into 80 minutes.
I intend to make an longer installation version
using some 1000 images, and anticipate a running time in excess of 8
hours for it.
1999-2000 | Digital Video | Color | Sound | 80 minutes
Camera, edit, and concept : Jon Jost
Shown at: the 2000 Rotterdam Film Festival (only a fragment), Jeonju International Film Festivl
(S. Korea), Popcorn Film Festival (Stockholm), and the 2001 Rome International Exposition
of Photography (as an installation work)