No Damage

Caspar Stracke

2002 | 00:12:30 | United States | English | B&W and Color | Stereo | 4:3 | Video

Collection: Single Titles

Tags: Architecture, City, Film or Videomaking, Found Footage, History, September 11th

No Damage is a composition made out of fragments from over 80 different feature and documentary films that show the architecture of New York City — its architectural presence as captured on film over eight decades. Lifted out of their original context and juxtaposed in groups, these scenes reveal their emotional implications: grandeur, glamour, the wake of modernism, post-modernism and, most recently, post 9/11 sentimentalism. A number of particular clips that resonate such emotions enter into a non-verbal discourse on age, status, functionality and aesthetics. The feeling of eternity that these giant structures seemed to possess has now changed into the consciousness of finitude. Buildings disappear for different reasons. They collapse or pulverize; constant damage causes constant transformation. In an elapsed time view these enormous transformations appear like insignificant friction — within Manhattan's architectural mass, moving like a giant glacier.

“This video is an ode to New York City. On the one hand it shows the grandeur of the city, its imposingness; but simultaneously due to the events of September 11th it also reveals its vulnerable, unstable side. In contrast to so many other films about September 11th, this one has a pleasing closing note, which suggests reconstruction. It is masterfully layered. For example, the film does not focus on how large and static the buildings are, but primarily also on the city’s dynamics. Stracke collected a great deal of found footage and his selection criteria are very subtle. When the film starts you think you are watching a fragmentary whole, but if you pay attention to the camera movements you will notice that they subtly succeed one another. In my opinion, the writhing soundtrack, which has a beautiful atmospheric progression, gives the images a chance to speak for themselves.”

— Bart Rutten, Montevideo Foundation, Amsterdam (from Impakt Festival Catalogue 2002)

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New York, NY