hubert blanz

c-print on aluminium, Hubert Blanz, 2009

Seven Seconds

Ruth Horak

Seven seconds is the length of a Formula One pit stop. The unbelievable efficiency and speed with which a well-rehearsed team changes tires and fills the tank is in tune with the overall atmosphere of speed and euphoria. Much too fast for our eyes.

The whirring sounds of the innumerable Carrera tracks and their acrobatic convolutions on which Hubert Blanz lets racing cars speed until they are no more than a blaze on the tracks in his photographs, which brings to mind the themes of Virillio’s book Polar Inertia. Is it all too fast for us? Do we need a pit stop to lead our eyes out of the labyrinth of the Carrera tracks? In reality, they are “silent”, just pieced together and brought to a standstill by photography. Yet the picture is alive with an atmosphere of racing and whizzing, an impenetrable mass. As in Deleuze’s observations on cinema, here too movement is composed of rigid and stagnant sequences. 1) Although the curved elements bring speed into the picture, its dynamism comes from the density, the totality of the montage.  

Before us are four hundred layers comprising a digital accumulation of aerial views and different-sized profiles, each subordinate to the mass. Siegfried Kracauer’s “Mass Ornament”, as it were. A weave of curves and sharp turns, lane grooves and crash barriers meandering and winding like the snakes on Medusa’s head captivate our gaze. The original movement, the race of the Carrera cars has been arrested and deactivated in the photos, timelessly, but the new movement generated by the computer has now begun. The duality of racing and standstill has been created with enormous dexterity – the faster the cuts, the more breathtaking the impression of incessant movement. The eye revels with abandon in the impression.

1) Cf. Gilles Deleuze, Cinéma 1 Image-Mouvement, Paris (1983).

Translations: Nita Tandon, Vienna
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