Deceleration Chamber

This month at Open Space: The Deceleration Chamber.

The Deceleration Chamber is concerned with two entangled ideas: the elasticity of time—especially slow time—and how time is specifically experienced when one is away from familiar surroundings: on tour, traveling or on vacation. Encountering the unfamiliar, being lost or disorientated affects how time is perceived, how data is recorded and recollected, and how all of us choose the mode by which we measure, mark or experience the passage of time.

Artists Scott Amos, Frédérick Belzile, Scott Conarroe, Nathalie Daoust, and Daniel Tom explore differential time scales and refer to time not only as interval or measurement, but also as an active element in the construction of art. The Deceleration Chamber offers compelling time studies that directly and indirectly play off the habits, schedules and the erratic timetables of permanent and transitory populations.

It’s up until August 16th at 510 Fort St. in Victoria, from 10 to 5 Tuesday through Saturday.

With the help of Brian Macdonald and the the staff and volunteers at Open Space, I installed a 9 channel video installation for the show titled “Our Victoria.” This is a clip from the ninth channel. Colin Hander and Mike Wolske did the sound.

Here’s the little Blurb I wrote up about the piece.

Victoria is a city of postcard images, but the most impressive things never seem to make it to the printer. The Inner Harbour and the Parliament Buildings provide the background for millions of snapshots a year; They are the basis of visitors’ memories of our city. Although they are a part of our city, they are not the places that we frequent, the Victoria that we know and love. They are the parts that we show to others. The magical parts of the city we keep to ourselves.

When visiting other places, time passes differently, more slowly, you take notice of little details: the weathered bricks on a building, the intricacies of power lines, the reflections in windows. Everyday objects and places are rendered extraordinary by simply taking the time to observe them.

Our hometowns have similar delicate features, but we seldom notice. They are simply distractions that we pass by.

Our Victoria is a nine channel video installation, made to emulate old home movies. Although filmed in 2006, it looks as though it’s from past decades. The nine televisions are nine individual rolls of film, raw and unedited to emulate the frenetic nature of home movies and the raw memories they capture. It is an intimate look into the places that only the most adventurous visitors will see, the places that you won’t see in brochures, the places that have not yet been reduced to postcards.

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Victim of an Evil Seductress

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Made this one for the Victoria Film Festival’s “My Victoria” Film contest. They wanted a one-minute Victoria-centric film. While wandering around the immerweb, trying to figure out what to do for the film, I stumbled into the the raciest historical tidbit about my quaint little town. It’s about an architect named Francis Rattenbury. Adultery. Murder. Juicy stuff. Here is the film I made:

I ended up winning the “Capital History Award” for it, and did a little interview with the Susan McLean from the Provincial Capital Commission. I found it online here:

Rattenbury scandal provides fodder
for Capital History Award winner
March 2008 – Not only did Francis Rattenbury design Victoria’s signature buildings, including the Parliament Buildings, the Empress Hotel, the Crystal Garden and the CP Steamship terminal, but the renowned architect was a key character in the raciest scandal of the 1920s and 30s.

The steamier side of Rattenbury — from leaving his wife for a younger woman to his murder in England by his chauffer who was having an affair with his second wife, through to her stabbing death — provided a smorgasbord of tantalizing historical tidbits and fascinating imagery for Victoria filmmaker Scott Amos.

Combining archival photographs and new video footage, Amos pieced together Rattenbury’s sordid final years for his short film “Victim of an Evil Seductress” to win the Provincial Capital Commission’s Capital History Award at this year’s Victoria Film Festival.

Thanks to the internet, Scott was able to conduct much of his research on the renowned architect, accessing historical information and archived photographs. Using a 1952 16-mm Bolex camera, he began filming. Working out of his basement, Scott processed the film in buckets of chemicals, deliberately scratching the black and white film to make it look old.

Originally from Ontario, Amos hitchhiked to Victoria 10 years ago, with a guitar on his back and $20 in his pocket. It’s the story films are made of and was the topic of his second film entered in this year’s festival entitled “Waiting.”

Earning some money busking in Bastion Square, he eventually earned a writing degree from the University of Victoria, where one of his professors handed him a video camera for a film project. It was a pivotal moment in Scott’s life. “I got myself into huge debt buying equipment,” he laughed. He also started making short films.

Now a Teacher’s Assistant in UVic’s Fine Arts Department and working at Medianet, a video co-op business, Amos is a five-year veteran of the Victoria Film Festival. The My Victoria category suits his style, he says, providing an avenue to show off his work. “I make a lot of Island-centric movies.”

“The festival is a great way to be exposed to artistic work that you wouldn’t normally see,” he said. “There’s a lot of local and Canadian content and it’s great to see what’s happening in my field.”

The My Victoria competition is an opportunity for local artists to have their work shown on the Big Screen and to expose people to the unique voices of the local independent film community, he added. It also provides an incentive to film a changing world, he noted. Amos is the first to admit the world, as most people see it, isn’t his cup of tea. “The real world doesn’t interest me,” he said. “I live it every day so I don’t need to film it. I’d rather film a world that doesn’t exist or to see the existing world in a way I’ve never seen it before.”

But add an experimental twist and it’s award time for Amos.

I Am Fine

This started as an old educational film called “I am Joe’s Spine.” And then I wrecked it a bunch. I buried myself in my basement lab, and listened continuously to the new Run Chico Run CD that I got. It’s called “Rocket Surgery” and it’s fantastic. Thankfully, the band has let me use a snippit of their song “Slow” to accompany the film, so you can hear how cool it is yourself. Their myspace is here, and their website is here, but I have no idea where to buy the album. I got it at their show…it’s on green vinyl too! Did you hear that?


“I Am Fine” was made by scratching at the old film, with a bit of chemical manipulation, and then some compositing and digital effects on the ol’ computer. I’m hoping the Chicos’ll let me make them a music video over the summer. we’ll see.

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and, like I promised, here is the Quicktime version.


This is a little experiment I did, making inkblots with clear acrylic and india ink. I pressed as many copies as I could, then took photographs of them, and lined them up, overlayed and composited them. I threw a little motion blur on them too, to smooth out everything. Some interesting textures.
Part 13 of the 2008 film-a-week project. Film by Scott Amos, music by Mike Wolske (altered by Scott Amos)

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And a higher quality Quicktime


I filmed this one on trip back from Dawson City. It was an Air North flight from Whitehorse to Vancouver. I filmed it on colour film and must’ve botched the processing…it’s all washy-looking. I was daydreaming on the plane.

There’s more footage from Dawson that I haven’t figured out what to do with. I’m sure it’ll sneak its way into a future short. I traveled up there for the Dawson City International Short Film Festival, as a visiting filmmaker and to speak on a panel about distribution. Stayed at Bombay Peggy’s. Awesome. Met a tonne of fantastic people. Braved the cold for an outdoor screening. Mastered the 10-minute-pint-between-screenings. I’m hoping to get back up there next year.

Before my trip, I was told that Dawson was one of those magical places; after being there, I’ll have to agree.

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This is the part where I make a bunch of excuses why I haven’t posted my weekly video for more than a month. Excuse #1 – made a couple films for MediaNet’s One-Minute Challenge, which screened on 16mm film, Youtube won’t let me upload 16mm, so I’ve had to wait until now to transfer it to digital. Excuse #2 – I was in Calgary for the $100 Film Festival, where “Grass” was playing (and won the “Best Super 8 Award). Excuse #3 – I was in Dawson City for the International Short Film Festival, where both “Sometimes” and “Grass” were playing. Excuse #4 – I had the flu. Hallucinating. Awesome.

All excuses aside, I’ve got the films done now, and will be putting them up over the next few days, in no particular order. First up is “windowpane.” I shot it in Calgary, while I was there for the $100 Film Festival. Good times. The Calgarians are a lot of fun, and took great care of me, (thanks Mels!)
While wandering around with the Bolex and Luke Black (one of the bunch of really cool folks I met at the CSIF,) we found a window, leaned against a fence in an alley, covered in mildew and frost. With a macro lens, I explored it. Shot on 16mm film and hand-processed by Scott Amos, Music by Mike Wolske.
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My Own Backyard

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I got a new Bolex this week, and this is the first thing I’ve shot on it, a test in the backyard. It works. Good to know. I inspected the camera before I bought it, and it seemed alright, but you never know until you’ve run a roll of film through it.
This was shot on Kodak 7265 16mm colour negative film, but I developed it with black and white chemistry. It turns out that the film is tinted orange…interesting…I was playing around with a close-up lens taped to the end of a 70’s video-camera lens.

I’m still trying to hunt down colour processing chemistry in town, it’s more difficult to find than I expected, but I’m sure I’ll run into something.

The music is courtesy of Mike Wolske.