Michelle Brand’s Synchronicity starts simply enough, with a progression of rough, gestural drawings of people in public. Their poses are casual if a little impatient — people waiting for a bus, riding the subway, or passing time on a busy street. The images accumulate as the scale of what Brand is tackling becomes more clear, but there’s a moment about 30 seconds in where the film really starts to change. As two figures pass each other, their figures fuse, a moment of tension clear before they emerge on the other side.
From that moment, it becomes increasingly difficult to distinguish individual figures. The crowd becomes the subject, the mass of humanity defined not by its boundaries but its intersections. The complexity of the images continues to build, the characters becoming increasingly abstracted, atoms floating in space, swirling in ever more intricate patterns.
The film ends where it begins, with an image of a single passenger, but this time the image isn’t quite so self-contained. Bits and pieces swirl off of them, the connection to the rest of the network of humanity refusing to neatly disappear.
As visual metaphors go, it pairs well with Hiroshi Kondo’s multiverse. Both films look at the interplay between the individual and the crowd, finding connections by compressing time, space and movement in unique ways. Kondo’s film may be more immediately striking for its technical complexity, but Synchronicity uses the looseness of its characters to fantastic effect. Where multiverse shows the similarities between the individuals in the crowd, Brand’s imagery points to something bigger: if the people rushing past each other are particles swirling, are they part of some greater whole? And what does that connection mean?
dir: Michelle Brand
syn: People come, people go – Yet everyone is moving in the same direction. We all are sharing something that we are unaware of, creating one big picture we are unable to see.
The film explores the idea of how everyone is connected in a way we may not realise. By sharing time, space and movement, we overlap and create a bigger picture. We all are walking down our own line of time, believing we live in our own time line, however this line constantly overlaps with the line of others – or perhaps we all are moving on the same line – and all lines are connected through a constant process of change.
1st Year film at Royal College of Arts, 2018
Music by Vincenzo Di Francesco – vincenzodifrancesco.com/