1st text description for 1st silent minute


Black and white. Many greys. Branded YouTube in the lower right corner. Black bars, as a vertical letterbox, either side of the moving image. The typed word ‘You’, in pale grey , overlays a small part of the image. The word ‘Tube’ is in black, upon a round-cornered, pale grey rectangle, symbolic of a television screen, of the type that used a cathode ray tube. Just the left-most edge to the television symbol overlays the moving image: it mainly obscures a small area of the black bar to the right.

In the foreground hang two vertical chains of small round beads, silhouetted darkly against shifting greys. We are too close to them: they are out of focus. They roughly divide the screen in 3. A faint reflection of light outlines the upper left curves of the beads in the right-hand chain, while the left hand chain appears more 2-dimensional. As if it is a row of connected dots. Or holes. But as our point of view sways very slightly from side to side, this fluctuates: from time to time the beads of the left chain that are also blurrily described by the light beyond them.

A narrow vertical line flicks back and forth between these two. Bounces and hovers. It is the edge of a window blind. The translucent canvas-type of blind. From time to time the parallel lines of it’s narrow, tightly woven weft come in to sharp focus, as its edge sweeps across the screen. Pushed and pulled by small movements in an eddying current of air.

We are held between a mid grey wall surface,  to our left, the pale light of a window beyond, and dark interior space to our right. As the edge of the fabric swings falteringly between left and right, the balance of light across the image changes.

The borders between these vertical bands of light and dark are varyingly distinct, indistinct A slight blue-green tinge emerges in the monochrome

And there is another layer. At first it is feint. It cuts through the gap between the two chains of beads. Appears to be a third, identical chain – more distant, as its beads are smaller. But its position within the depth of the picture plane is hard to discern. It follows a wedge shaped vertical band of grey – wider at the top than at the bottom. In relation to it, we appear to be slowly sinking, yet we remain shakily level with the edge of our blind and the two chains of beads we feel closest to.

The screen blinks. Then cuts to another scene. For a fraction of a second is a glimpse of more frenetic movement. An expanded environment, yet still interior. Greens and blues. Are we running? Another blink.

We return to to the gentle sink and sway of our window edge. A hint of nausea, as if travelling too fast over a hump-backed bridge. Familiar movements, for a few more seconds. Interrupted for a 2nd, then a 3rd and a 4th time, by a blinking reveal to the other scene. The texture there is more pixellated. the colours more vivid. Each glimpse last less than a second. The movement is jagged. We are running along a corridor towards the glare of huge windows.

We are hurtling towards the end of our silent minute: As with all YouTube videos we have a horizontal red ‘progress’ bar beneath the moving image that extends from left to right, in proportion to how much video has elapsed, and much is remaining. And a digital clock. Counting the seconds. 0:56 / 1:00, then 0:57, then 0:58.

We also have a volume control, useless. And a play button. Which is also a pause button. We are not compelled to follow this minute. We can stop. Pause. And Rewind.

Posted by Melanie.

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