VERTIGO RUSH

In the interplay of nature and (optical) machine, the hidden becomes visible. The perverse picture at the end of this work, of an artificial sun made of flashes of light, is no more than the blurring of a choppy film shot taken peering into the depths of a stretch of woods - always included as a visual potential within it. VERTIGO RUSH is a technically extravagant experiment consisting of a series of dolly zooms: a succession of camera movements captured in individual images of forward and backward motion, while simultaneously zooming in the opposite direction. Accelerating this pendulum movement, at first gently and later drastically, intensifies the optical illusion of the space shifting together - and smoothly hands it over to the abstract, transferred to a "dissolving" image.

More so than recalling Hitchcock, who established the technique of the dolly zoom in Vertigo more than half a century ago, VERTIGO RUSH is reminiscent of the clever perception experiments of New American Cinema of the 1960s, especially Michael Snow´s structuralist space and movement studies, one of which would also provide an apt name: Back and Forth. The apparently simple basic situation develops genuine cinematographic impact: While the pure tone soundtrack constantly increases in frequency - at first subliminally, soon thumping nervously - the space expands and condenses as though digitally animated while the virtually uncontrollable play of daylight leaves behind its (documentary) traces even in this system of strict cinematic regulation. With the increase in speed (and the onset of darkness) in the second part of the film, the pictorial space narrows to a nocturnal shock corridor. VERTIGO RUSH flows into a pure frenzy of distorted perspective in the controlled intoxication of speed: the serene velocity of the mechanical gaze unleashed.

(Stefan Grissemann)

Translation: Lisa Rosenblatt


Johann Lurfs psychedelic full-body-experience Vertigo Rush (19 min), left me thrilled at its Viennale premiere. Certainly the use of zoom-in/track-out has been inflationary ever since Vertigo. But 25-year-old Lurf drives it to full excess. The slow acceleration of camera-tracking-speed in combination with subliminal deep bass frequencies makes your skin crawl.

(Maya McKechneay, In: Filmkrant)


Johann Lurfs stunning study VERTIGO RUSH is based on what is called the "Vertigo effect", named after the thriller for which Alfred Hitchcock developed it. (While the camera moves forward on rails, the zoom lens is adjusted to expand the angle of view. The edges of the image remain static, but the dynamic modification of the focal width makes it seem as though the image space gradually gained in depth.) Johann Lurf, a recent graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, where he studied with Harun Farocki, usues this technique, also called „dolly zoom“, for a structural analysis of cinematigraphic processes. For this purpose, the filmmaker set up a highly elaborate technical arrangement: he installed rails in the woods on which a camera moves, operated by a computer. While the camera repeatedly moves back and forth, the lens continually zooms out and in. This process is gradually accelerated. The pace of the forward and backward movement and the frequency with which the zoom lens is operated are independent of one another, creating both additive and subtractive patterns. Toward the end of the film, a slower recording speed and increasing exposure times mean that all the viewer can see are lines that converge in the center of the picture, a star-like image that recalls the science fiction classic 2001: A Space Odyssey (UK/USA 1986, Stanley Kubrick). To accompany these nature shots, Lurf plays a purely synthetic sine wave tone whose frequency and volume also rise continually. What is fascinating about this „test signal“ is that it sounds different every time the film is presented, testing the limits of the specific sound system and gernerating a different accoustic event at each location. To the film-historic references we already mentioned we shouls add 1960s structural film. Most importantly, Lurf‘s film suggests the influence of the experiments conducted by the Canadian artist Michael Snow; the affinities between VERTIGO RUSH and films by Snow such as (Back and Forth, 1969) and La Région Centrale (1971) are unmistakable.

(Norbert Pfaffenbichler in the catalogue for Cineplex, Secession Vienna)

More Texts

Jury Argument: Best Int'l Experimental Short, Leeds Film Festival 2008 (Award)

A simple idea: find a beautiful sun-dappled verdant forest scene, then dolly zoom in and out slowly, then at incrementally increasing speed, until the image mutates into a merciless visceral assault that interrogates the very nature of human perception. Vertigo Rush is an ingenious formal experiment, representing an unyielding insistence on exploring the unique qualities of captured reality via the techniques of moving image art to quite simply blow your mind.

Jurybegründung Diagonale 2008 / Preis für Innovatives Kino (Award)

„Vertigo Rush“ setzt uns im Wald aus, um auf der Rückseite der Netzhaut wieder rauszukommen. Er zeigt uns etwas, das bald nicht mehr zu sehen und vorerst noch nicht zu hören ist. Über die andauernde Verschiebung der Wahrnehmung wird eine physische Involvierung erzeugt, die die Priorität des Blicks auflöst. Parallel dazu breitet sich der Ton unmerklich in Raum und Körpern aus. Dies erzeugt einen unentrinnbaren Sog, der eine aktive, existenziell-körperliche Kino-Erfahrung bewirkt: denn „Vertigo Rush“ ist eine Feedbackschleife zwischen buchstäblicher physischer Präsenz der ZuseherInnen im Kinosaal, selbstreflexiver Wahrnehmung und immersivem Filmerleben. Der Wald wird nie mehr das sein, was er einmal war.

JURY Jury-Begründung film:riss 2008 / Preis für Besten Kunstfilm (Award)

Vertigo Rush hat die Jury nicht nur formal-ästhetisch überzeugt. In seiner konzeptuellen Klarheit entwickelt der Film eine enorme Wucht. In knapp 20 Minuten verbindet er zwei Gegenpole mit den ureigensten Mitteln der Cinematographie. Vom realen Abbild zur völligen Abstraktion durch Bewegung und Beschleunigung.

Bert Rebhandl / FAZ (Award)

Vertigo Rush is a proof that experimental film has by no means exhausted all the possibilities of its investigations into the mechanisms of cinema...

Bert Rebhandl / Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Orig. Title
VERTIGO RUSH
Year
2007
Country
Austria
Duration
19 min
Director
Johann Lurf
Category
Avantgarde/Arts
Orig. Language
no dialogue
Downloads
VERTIGO RUSH (Image)
VERTIGO RUSH (Image)
VERTIGO RUSH (Image)
Credits
Director
Johann Lurf
Production
Johann Lurf
Assistant
Wolzt Leo , Johann Horvat, Marko Vuco
Equipment
Martin Reinhart
Available Formats
Digital File (prores, h264) (Distribution Copy)
DCP 2K flat (Distribution Copy)
Aspect Ratio
1:1,78
Sound Format
5.1 surround
Frame Rate
24 fps
Color Format
colour
35 mm (Distribution Copy)
Aspect Ratio
1:1,78
Sound Format
5.1 surround
Frame Rate
24 fps
Color Format
colour
Festivals (Selection)
2007
Viennale - Vienna Int. Film Festival
2008
Rotterdam - Int. Filmfestival
Graz - Diagonale, Festival des österreichischen Films (Innovative Cinema Award)
Edinburgh - International Film Festival
Hamburg - Int. Kurzfilm-Festival & No Budget
Wien - VIS Vienna Independent Shorts
Melbourne - Int. Film Festival
Vila do Conde - Festival Internacional de Curtas-Metragens
Seoul - EXis (Experimental Film- & Videofestival)
Zagreb - 25fps Film & Video Festival (Critic's Award)
Salzburg - Film:Riss Kurzfilmfestival (Jury-Award for Best Art-Film)
Ankara - Festival of European Film / Festival on Wheels
Morelia - Int. Film Festival (Mexiko)
Leeds - Int. FilmFestival (Best International Experimental Short)
Lucca Film Festival (Best Short Film)
Milano International Film Festival (Honorable Mention)
Jihlava Documentary Film Festival
Lissabon - Indielisboa Int. Film and Videofestival
Osnabrück - EMAF - European Media Art Festival
Berlin - Int. Filmfestspiele
2009
Stuttgart - Filmwinter, Expanded Media Festival
Copenhagen - cph:dox, Intl Documentary Film Festival