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Essay: 1088% Sølve Sundsbø

by Jennifer Kabat on 20 December 2000

Writer Jennifer Kabat on the ideas behind Sølve Sundsbø's film 1088%.

Writer Jennifer Kabat on the ideas behind Sølve Sundsbø's film 1088%.

It's a fact. Traffic in central London goes at an average of six miles an hour, no faster than a hundred years ago, or a hundred years before that even. At that speed, we could all be travelling on horse rather than in taxis, cars, limos. No wonder Sølve Sundsbø got frustrated and started dreaming of speed. His video, 1088%, zooms through London very fast, video game style streaks of acid pinks and greens left in the camera's wake, only stopping at a traffic light for an old man to struggle with crossing the street. It's the 'fuck I want to get there now energy', Sundsbø explains. Impatient, relentless and the more frustrated you get the more you want to go really fast, with immense energy.

Shot with a thermal activated survellance camera, the video creates a sense of 'sci-fi fantasy', as Sundsbø calls it. Already into oblique ways of shooting things, the 30 year-old Norwegian photographer (and erstwhile video maker) moved to London in the mid-1990's and has since adjusted to the town's travel times - 'more waiting than in his native Norway', he says. Now halfway through his first decade in London, Sundsbø is shooting for Dazed & Confused, POP, i-D, The Face, Arena Homme Plus, Big, Numero, Visionaire - a catalogue of mags that value edge photos and give him free rein to play with materials and techniques. Now he's particularly into scientific and medical equipment. In recent shoots for Big and Dazed, Sølve has used cyber-scans, technology more frequently used to turn people into 3-D animations in the recent Star Wars - something to think of next time you're stuck in traffic.

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