Film: Paris – An Orbit Portrait, 2011

2011, single channel video with stereo sound (voice over), 15.30 min
Narration in Swedish: Windy Fur Rundgren
Subtitles in English (translation): Steven Cuzner

Watch the film online

Paris – An Orbit Portrait (2011) is a video essay based on still images taken in Paris between 2005 and 2010, by Swedish visual artist Malin Pettersson Öberg. The essay borrows its form from travelogues and guide books, by combining each image with an excerpt derived from the Swedish guide book ”Vad man vill veta om Paris” (What one wants to know about Paris), written by Torgny Wickman in 1953. As such, the video essay seeks to interrogate gaps and glitches between image and text, between the 1950s and the 2010s, between the subject of the writer and that of the artist, et cetera. A film inspired by black and white still image-essays such as La Jetée (Terrassen) by Chris Marker, 1962, and one of my own first attempts in the field of video and cinematic essays. The video borrows its title from the physical and mathematical term ‘orbit’ and ‘orbit portrait’, normally used to describe a curved path by which one body circles around another body, or two bodies circle around a central point. For me, this was a way to describe how two parallell, and partly contradictory, stories unfold in the film – one through the images and the other through the text – and how portraying a city such as Paris necessarily needs to evoke previous cinematic portraits of the same city. Paris – An Orbit Portrait was produced within the framework of the Project programme for professional artists at the Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm (2010-2011) and with support from The Swedish Arts Grants Committee. Narrator: Windy Fur Rundgren. English translation/proofreading: Steven Cuzner.

For more information about the video (in French/Swedish), please also see the Roundtable conversation held after the screening at the Swedish Institute in Paris, in June, 2012.