With a magical wave of her Bolex, Marie Menken (1905-1970) takes us from morning to nightfall through a comically sped-up day. As a city portrait of busyness and informational onslaught, the film is timely and familiar. But to me, its more eternal theme is collectivity – all the ways we come together (or sabotage coming together) in the name of going places, self-improving, goal-chasing, social climbing, creating and cavorting. I love the joyful invitation to notice what and who is swirling around you – that kaleidoscope of people going, going, going, as if being a human among humans could be a graceful thing.
(Text I wrote for the “Outsiders: American Photography and Film” exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario. March 11 – May 27, 2016.)