Marathon

2010
43 minutes
Single Channel Video

The TV show Law and Order is one that I think of as a kind of television version of comfort food.  On continuous daily rotation on cable, it recedes into background noise, a warm media bath of familiar sounds and repetitive plotlines.  Marathon is an averaged composite of all the episodes in a single season of Law and Order, all playing simultaneously.  The result is  a hazy, pulsing abstraction, accompanied by the soft wash of numerous overlaid dialogues.  All sense of narrative progression is washed away, and the final piece (still the exact length of one episode) is punctuated only by the show’s signature rhythmic, echoing gavel sound.

Marathon was created by writing custom software combine the images.  Each episode is first converted to a series of still images, one for each frame of the video.  An averaged image is calculated using the first frame from each episode, and this is repeated for every frame to generate 43 minutes of averaged images.  These are then recombined into a single video, and the averaging process is repeated on the audio tracks of all the episodes.

Excerpt 1 (beginning)

Excerpt 2 (middle)

Excerpt 3 (end)