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Standard Time

Michael Snow

Canada, 1967
8 minutes, Colour, opt
Available formats: 16mm

‘Standard Time is 8 minutes and feels, hypnotically, like a time-less segment fragment of life.(Life-physical movement in a space/time enclosure). The camera swivels (pans) left to right, over and over again, then tilts, up and down, over and over again establishing movement as such as the given conditions of perception and existence. This suspended tension of being holds for both the cameraman and the spaces/walls/objects/(people?)…The film establishes each viewer’s autonomous sense of self. The bombarding impulses, through the ‘repeated’ pans/tilts, permit (for each viewer, each time) different moments of reality to become relevant, exciting etc. The speed at which the camera sees the given visually creates frustration at not being able to hold (the) experience, to pattern it in a conventional manner. Michael Snow’s film activates one’s internal mechanisms for grasping, (idiosyncratically, in time), the substances one is faced with, a negates objective experience once and for all. In terms of the politics of experience and human consciousness, few films could be less fascist. Standard Time is also a beautiful ‘8’ minutes.’ – Peter Gidal.