A new audiovisual art project set to be released April 17, creates a 24-minute portrait of Colombia’s second city, Medellin.
City One Minutes is an international, video art project that portrays life in cities around the world through 24, one-minute videos, each dedicated to one hour of the day.
City One Minutes Director Su Tomesen has spent the last two months working with local artist Paula A. Rengifo filming, gathering and organizing the material which now makes up the most recent addition to the City One Minutes archive and will be presented at the Colombo Americano English school, in central Medellin on April 17.
Tomesen, who has organized and directed videos in Buenos Aires, Argentina and Johannesburg, South Africa, worked to combine her fresh outlook on Medellin with the local knowledge of Rengifo and 20 other Medellin-based artists.
The filming has been going on since mid February and will include a wide range of locations, scenes and people from around the city, including minutes shot in “the hectic cacophony of downtown Medellin,” up in the mountains of Santa Elena as well as panoramas of the entire city from the now-iconic San Javier cable car, the artists told Colombia Reports.
The pair was keen to stress that the portrait will not be a tourism advertisement, but instead a faithful interpretation of the city, encompassing as many different aspects of Medellin as possible. “We also tried to show the darker side of the city, including shots of homeless people, for example, that a city marketer would skip over,” asserted Tomesen; emphasizing the obligation they felt to produce a genuine representation of the city.
That is not to say, though, that the Medellin videos will not end up being a positive reflection of the city.
Tomesen said that she often feels “like an ambassador” for other cities that she has captured in this way, recalling the “pride” expressed to her by citizens from Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro that their cities’ videos were shared with the citizens from Medellin at an exhibition on April 3.
Rengifo and Tomesen are optimistic about the videos, describing them as a chance for those who already know the place to share it with others, for those who have been there before to revisit fond memories and a chance for people yet to see it to gain a personal and real insight into an authentic urban existence that you will struggle to find on any tourism website.
Tomesen describes the videos “like trailers, but there’s no movie coming.” Each minute is designed to give an impression of “a place, a life, an approach” but no more. It is an approach that could be seen to give a fragmented view, but Tomesen sees it as a “glimpse” into the life of the city. It is a form that replicates the way we experience a place first hand; the one minute clip serves as a suggestion of all that might happen in the 59 minutes left untouched, an invitation to discover the endlessly developing urban interaction between an area and its inhabitants and an acknowledgement of the impossible task of representing an entire city. As Tomesen aptly put it, “How else would we capture a city?”
City One Minutes’ Medellin video is set to be unveiled at an exhibition at the Colombo Americano, in central Medellin on April 17 and the videos will be available online from early May at the cityoneminutes website.
- Interview with Su Tomesen and Paula Rengifo