Ring. An experimental short film about the aesthetics of time in film

"Ring" is a 10-minute experimental film with 20 fixed shots, each 30 seconds long. They are shot along the 37.5 km Ringbahn route of the S41 and S42, which forms a circle around the center of Berlin.

Project start:
Project completion:

Camila Mercadal and Renato Pérez have explicitly sought out this rigid formal structure in order to be able to explore time as raw material in film in its relativity and quality as well as in its cinematographic form. The circular shape of the ring track that doesn't have neither a beginning nor end represents the idea of infinity. It is meant to evoke a sense of flow as if traveling. External static shots are to break the flow of images every 30 seconds according to the set structure. In terms of content, they mimic the stop and go of the commuter ride and juxtapose filmed movement with the static image. Short and long image sequences are to reveal the internal rhythm through this juxtaposition and make their formal aesthetics perceptible as a (time) structure. The form of this experimental film is strict, it makes use of narrative reduction. Doing so, it wants to reveal basic elements of film language regarding the representation and perception of time as a structure. This way aspects of the aesthetics are to be audiovisually thematized and observable.

The quality of time perception in film is examined on the basis of the classic motif of the journey: represented here as an endlessly recurring daily movement on Berlin's S-Bahn ring.

More than 400,000 passengers of the S41-S42 see a similar urban landscape every day, and always at the same pace of the S-Bahn. With "Ring", Camila Mercadal and Renato Pérez design an artistic perspective that turns the S-Bahn passenger into a conscious observer of his or her surroundings, consciously recognizing film and image textures in the urban landscape during the daily S-Bahn journey: "Ring" forces a pause, a slowing down of viewing habits, directs the gaze to new combinations of movement, opens up unfamiliar perspectives on the framing, color, and texture of the passing cityscape by formalizing the gaze in standardized cinematic time. "Ring" relates the observer's point of view to the moving landscape, whose quality is precisely not static but moving. Movement in space as an essential element of time is to be examined in "Ring" in its formal, structural and visual aesthetics. The fleetingness of the moment, the unstoppable passing of the film image is to become formally and aesthetically describable as the central narrative quality of time in film.

Project lead: Camila Mercadal, Renato Pérez

 (opens enlarged image)
 (opens enlarged image)
 (opens enlarged image)