Our film is a meditation on a city, viewed from far above. We imagined a vast urban space, with its huge tower blocks, its monumental infrastructure, and its human population. We watched traffic pound the roads, and vast crowds move across public squares. And we wondered what would happen if we sped things up, watching minutes or hours of time pass in seconds, or stretched seconds into minutes. Seeing a city from far away, or at unusual speeds, gives it an alien quality. Movements that from close up seem individual and distinct suddenly seem mysteriously controlled - as if there is a more powerful mind at work imposing its will. The effect is to take something that we feel we understand, and view it through a new and utterly different lens. In the poem that overlays the film, we imagine this lens is shared by a couple in love, seeing the world this way for the first time, so that their sharing of the city is a part of their love, in all its mystery. And we wonder, is love too outside of their control?

Filmed and directed by
Joe Nafis

Executive Producer
Luo Tong

Poem written and read by
Arthur Jones

Additional footage by
Liu Jia

Music and sound mix by
Albert Yu

Poem recorded by

Poem translated by
Zhu Xiaomin
Upgrade Service

The poem:

I spy a city

This turn and that
turn too, as the map unfolds in
ticks and taps, of time
and places you and I have made our own

the towers and the flats
that joke about our size
our matchstick statures
feed the architectural blaze

but in our meditations
we too soar above the clouds
and squint down, half focused
on the buzzing music box
wound up and played below

the pans and tilts of our shared lust
the thrust of our dollies
the quiet stalking of our sticks
just you and I and this, my little eye

watching these timed and timeless crowds
fan their way across the hot squares
the glare of free will and of fate
the runnels and folds we see from far

that steer them here and there un-
knowing; the fear that what from close up
felt so certain of itself is perhaps controlled
in all its comings and its going.

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