On Sunday at the special Magic Cinema for Still Walking I showed a film I made in 2009 for Jon Bounds’ 11 Bus project where he invited people to travel on Birmingham’s Outer Circle bus route on November 11th to see what happened. I decided to do it on my bike with the task of photographing every other bus stop in the clockwise direction with the TTV contraption attached to my camera. While liking a few shots I remember being slightly disapointed with the the photos as a whole and this film was an attempt to make sense of them.
The film takes the fortuitously titled song Outer Circle by local band Woodbine and runs through the photos in sequence, starting by my house in Stirchley and going all the way around through the afternoon into the winter evening.
Watching it again projected on a screen in a room full of people forced me to see it with fresh eyes and I was rather pleased with how it stood up. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, especially when explaining your art process, and I could see some really interesting themes in there.
The main one was this idea that street furniture like bus stops is a design constant. The 11 bus goes through a wide variety of districts and communities in Birmingham (I recommend it to all newcomers to get a sense of the diversity of Birmingham) but the bus stops are all the same. The repetition of this sameness emphasises the differences and turned out to be a rather neat device.
Of course it helps that the music is great. I love the “11a, 11b” refrain towards the end.
Thanks to Andy of The Magic Cinema for recognising it was interesting and forcing me to make a higher quality version for screening.