“Passing Through” by Alexander Mouton

Screen capture of “Passing Through” by Alexander Mouton. Picture of a barb-wired fence leading to a building.
Open “Passing Through” by Alexander Mouton

This multimedia hypertext work weaves together unpopulated images, ambient sounds, and the text of overheard conversations in several cities to produce an immersive experience of a journey. Best experienced in cinematic conditions (good speakers or headphones, large screen, dark room, no distractions, fullscreen browser window), this is a navigationally minimalist. Each image has an area you can click on to go to the next, and it’s not difficult to find, since it tends to be large and placed over a focal point in the photograph. The simplicity of the interface and knowing from the outset that it is a linear experience, allows readers to relax into the work and not be distracted by wondering about where to go or what decision to make. The sounds and scheduled presentation of the texts also encourage paucity and reflection on the whole sequence of images as a whole.

From the outset, Mouton describes the piece as “a linear, nocturnal amble” which is enough of a narrative framework to lead us to connect the images as a single conceptual entity. The spaces photographed are not famous landmarks, the recognition of which would remind us that they are from different locations. The music and text of the conversations serve as bridges from one image to another, encouraging us to build continuity in our minds and seek a story in the piece.

Whether there is one to be found, constructed, or neither, this piece deploys language poetically, laying it over time and space in a spellbinding visual and aural canvas. As you read these voices and hear them in your mind, think about who is uttering them. Does one of the voices belong to the person whose perspective we inhabit in this work?

Featured in ELO 2012 Media Art Show, & Avenues of Access