Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Train Ride Home

As it has been so many times before, I find my self on the train riding from Milwaukee to Chicago.  There is something so amazing about trains.  A lot has been written about them, and I can't think of anyone that does not enjoy them.

I am not writing here to talk about their efficiency, or the newly announced plans for American high speed rails  (though that is beyond exciting).  What I want to talk about briefly is pehaps my favorite part of the act of riding on a train.  That being the rhythm of the world out side of the frame that is the window of a moving train.  Though everything that is stationary is moving at the same speed relitive to the trains movement and direction, there is something very interesting in the way that we precieve this movement.

As a function of perspective, one of the human's ways of understanding distince, objects in our view seem to move past us at differant speeds depending on there distince.  This is also complicated by the passing of another train.  More intersting is a car on a parillel road to the tracks moving at a similar speed.  The car not moving relitive to the train makes it seem to float through the landscape, decelerating at an intense speed as it turns off the parallel road.

To the point.  Do to this perceived difference in the speed of the outside world, it is nearly always possible to find object that follow the rhythm of what one may be listening to on a train ride.  As I write this, the power lines along the tracks, perhaps 30ft away, match the snare drum in Hot Water Music's rendition of Radio.  The trees and bushes keeping beat with the fills and guitar riffs.  It is wonderful.

This concept has not been lost on others.  In the music video for Star Guitar, by the Chemical Brothers, director Michel Gondry, uses this concept to match the scenery to the music in an extreme way.  Taking a train ride 10 time between Nice and Valence France, Gondry used compter graphics to augment the footage to fit the music perfectly.

Being obsessed with this concept for a while (see older post) this video was right up my alley.  My mind now wonders to thoughts of what the implications of movement and perception could be.

I am sorry for misspellings and lack of links or the video itself.  Coming from my phone it will take me a minute before I can get to my computer and fully edit this post.

More on all of this later.

Link to the Chemical Brothers "Star Guitar"

-- Sent from my Palm Prē

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