This film is included in the following DVD:

by Jeff SCHER


by Jeff SCHER
2013 / DVCAM / color / sound / 1S / 4' 00

This movie runs thousands of times every day. It’s in 3D and Sensurround and it’s an entertainment bargain thrown in free with the price of every subway swipe. The best seating is actually standing, at the head or rear of the train, eyes glued to the window.

The minute the train slides out of the station you’re plunged into a nocturnal ballet of continuously converging parallel lines of rails, shimmering lights and endless tunnel. There is an organic musicality in the rhythms of our vast subterranean labyrinth. The moving train animates everything it passes. Beams and pillars flicker past, giving stations the feel of silent cinema, and signal lights turn colors as they control the train’s pace like a conductor’s baton. It’s so thrilling out there that I’ve often wished for an all-glass observation car with dim to dark lighting, where the spectacle could be more immersive. As it is, however, the view is through windows, often smeary and scratched, and on many lines, through double panes. Sometimes these aberrations create stunning effects, rainbows of diffraction or intensely romantic diffusion.

“Tunnel Vision” is a celebration of these views, edited with a little poetic mischief and interwoven with an original score by Shay Lynch.

This video was shot almost entirely with an iPhone. Initially I’d used a medium-size video camera, but after two admonishments from policemen that shooting video was illegal in the subway (it’s actually not, as long as you don’t block traffic or trespass and don’t use anything like tripods or lights. At least that’s the way I read the regulations), I defaulted to my iPhone, which rendered my activities relatively invisible as everyone else in the car was holding a device, too.

This film is a sister to a previous entry for this series, “Grand Central”. That was also an impressionistic portrait, but Grand Central held still while people marched to and fro. In “Tunnel Vision,” the people hold still while the buildings, tracks and tunnels march by. Both films are, at heart, valentines to the civic engineering of earlier centuries.


distribution format Digital file on server
screen 16/9 (single screen)
speed 30 fps
sound sound
rental fee 32,00 €