Comings and Goings

1977-79, 33:30 min, b&w and color, sound

In this three-part work, d'Agostino focuses on the complex infrastructure of urban mass transit systems, drawing linguistic parallels to the visual image to investigate signs and their relation to structures of communication. In PARIS (Metro), d'Agostino uses the Metro's closed-circuit surveillance cameras to record the movement of passengers in and out of the subway. The monitored images allude to a found text on the confusing etymological origins of "metro" and "poly" and their metaphoric connection to the subway as a vehicle of communication, while simulating the disassociation experienced by passengers in the system. San Francisco (BART) documents an "installation-in-motion," a performance event in a Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) train from San Francisco to Berkeley. Immense surveillance and control systems are juxtaposed with the human element — pockets of life moving through a massive, intricate organism. In Washington (METRO), originally designed as a video installation for L'Enfant Plaza station, d'Agostino contrasts surveillance footage from the closed-circuit cameras that monitor the system with the original Pierre L'Enfant utopian plan for the city, while a bland travelogue is heard on the soundtrack.

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