This project started as a mere interest in the visual aesthetics of the skaters in the Erzsebet Ter. For six months, I walked by this small skate park without even looking at what was going on. In the middle of the city, on one of the most famous and touristic neighborhood, the park seemed a little out of place; yet wasn’t drawing much attention. Just like me, most people were just passing by giving quick looks to the young people and kids skating and hanging around there. So I got curious.
For this project, I first decided to capture the brief snapshots of the skaters. I wanted to visually represent their performances through animated GIFs. Through the filming process, the more I spent in the park, I started to notice the small dynamics within the invisibly enclosed space of the park and also it’s relations to the rest of the square. Skaters, as well as bikers, were doing the same circular moves, over and over for hours. They were not talking to each other most of the time, unless they take breaks or try something together. They did not seem to realize the world outside that space and the rhythm of their moves. Julian and I filmed for hours, wondered around, and watched them; but not a single skater came and asked us why we were there. Since the diagonal walking path of the park moving away from the skating space, the skaters were relatively isolated from the touristic crowd as well. Despite that, skaters had a dedicated group of audience, who occasionally visit the park –mostly on the sunny days, and watch them. Yet, none of them seemed to care.
In order to show these different dynamics, I decided to make a film instead. I based it on the story of the only skater, Peter, who was able and willing to talk to me in English. Peter started skating when he was 14, after he became a fan of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater PlayStation game. His dedication and love for this sport and his life long hobby is interesting on its own. However, it is important to note here that Peter was my only access to the skaters on the park. Therefore everything I know and I represent through this film, is his perspective and his attachment to the skating.
The film was made by using footage from three different days. It was hard to organize sequences with consistent group of people. Also, the voice record of Peter’s interview was coming from a different voice-recording device. So, the greatest challenge was to balance the different audio levels of the videos and the sound from the device. Since it was our first filming and editing experience with Julian, we struggled to capture well-framed, stable shots of the fast movements and tricks.
Apart from the technical challenges, it was interesting to struggle between the theoretical debates that we engaged this semester. The questions over representation, interpretation were present even in this pretty neutral subject. In this sense, the camera was equally powerful and deceptive to convey what can be considered as “the reality out there”, meaning the real sequence of events happening in front of the lens.
Every time I turn off my camera, I recalled Alyssa Grossman’s talk, when she was complaining, how she felt like best moments always happened when she didn’t have her camera.
You can also access the film through this link here.