Crossing Skopje

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Crossing Skopje – a cinematic pattern of many different Skopjes

A videoinstallation developed and realized by:
Marte Kiessling, Stephanie Sarah Lauke, Vanessa Nica Mueller and Karsten Wiesel

Editing by:
Vanessa Nica Mueller and Karsten Wiesel

Camera by:
Karsten Wiesel

2011, BLIND SPOT SKOPJE in   Macedonia

(..) Cameracartell decided to focus on the taxi drivers of Skopje as a means of exploring different frames of the unknown city, influenced by the fact that using a cab is a very common way of daily personal transport in Skopje. We developed our idea in the tradition of cinema verité in documentary filmmaking.

The conversations we held took place whilst driving through the city – in the cab. The cabs differed from each other with regards to their age and safety standards, the individual style of the interior of the cars and of course the driver. In the presence of the camera we learned about historical facts, clichés and antithesis in relation to the city and listened to comments about the political situation in Macedonia and to personal stories of men and one woman who all had done various other jobs before they started driving taxis. They shared with us their memories of experiences abroad and their opinions about Germany and Western Europe.

Exploring Skopje with taxi drivers strongly shaped our perception and our first impressions. Getting to know a city by car is something totally different from doing so by foot. It is not comparable to the concept of derive“ invented by French situationist Guy Debord or the condition of the “flaneur” or the “stroller“ described by philosoph Walter Benjamin, which can be scenarised by the explanation of “drifting“ through a city without a predefined aim and route. Driving through an unknown place by car evokes a more distant approach to it. The outside goes by at diverse speeds and paces, and driving becomes a horizontal crossing of the city. Longer distances can be taken to the peripheral areas of the city, leaving the city centre behind as a blind spot nearly unexplored by our taxi driving.

Within “Crossing Skopje” we recorded very subjective points of view and created a fragmented mapping of Skopje by focusing on the personal stories of the drivers. In these cabs – a small mobile space and in these limited timeframes related to the different urban routes we took – we captured a series of dialogues which combine and overlap the inner and outer perspective of Skopje (..)

(excerpt of a text by Vanessa Nica Mueller)

v @ August 1, 2011

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