Within the walls of an enclosed space, identities become unstable. Figure becomes ground, the body becomes its shadow, and the self becomes other. Characters blend into and emerge out of the enveloping architecture. Strangers gather and perhaps crimes are committed.

This video is a collage of isolated moments from Alfred Hitchcock’s crime drama Number Seventeen (1932). A custom algorithm transforms each frame into a semi-abstract configuration of colored lines. This approach plays with and subverts figuration and narrative. The rhythm of the video is determined algorithmically, based on the visual complexity of each image. An image that is graphically more complex is held longer on the screen.

The collage of different moments both invites and frustrates the construction of a coherent narrative action and a narrative space.

The work can be seen as a combination of experimental rotoscope animation and found footage cinema. The soundtrack is composed in the manner of musique concrete, using brute sounds from the original movie soundtrack. Hitchcock himself adopted a similar approach many years later in The Birds (1963).

Produced and directed by: Hector Rodriguez
Computer programming and video editing by: Sam Chan, with Hector Rodriguez
Based on source code by: Philip Kretschmann and Hector Rodriguez
Mathematical consultant: Felipe Cucker

Development of this project was partly funded by City University strategic research grant 7004725.

01001000 01100101 01100011 01110100 01101111 01110010 00100000 01010010 01101111 01100100 01110010 01101001 01100111 01110101 01100101 01111010