the city talks back

Tim Ward

Route One

Route One

Route One  follows a typical commuter journey around the Athens suburbs. A short car trip leads to a longer spell in the metro system before the traveller emerges to listen to the voices on a crowded neighbourhood pavement. It is built entirely from field recordings and handheld video logs of such a journey, gathered in the very last days before the Covid-19 lockdown of March 2020 and during the reopening of May 2020.

The piece was initially intended to be a much more direct account of such a journey but working on the material under the unusual conditions of lockdown led to quite a different outcome. The noise and movement of city life and travel were suddenly muted; free movement in public space, the time to linger and explore, easy access to the city – all of these came to a halt. 

As a result, in the isolation of lockdown, the material was deconstructed to a far greater extent than originally intended. Electronic pulses and electromagnetic signals in the audio track came to the foreground, with the glitches and dropouts in the video material serving as feedback loops through which the original video could be passed multiple times. 

The original intention of a direct account of the journey became an exploration of the internal signals within the audio and video recordings, ‘performed’ during lockdown and captured in this video.