Daniel Crooks’ Phantom Ride alludes to cinema history to create a seamless journey through a composite reality. By manipulating digital footage as though it were a physical material, Crooks has constructed a collaged landscape, taking us through multiple worlds and shifting our perception of space and time.
“Phantom Ride comes out of my long-held fascination with the convergence of trains, the birth of cinema and modern ideas and representations of time.
I’ve presented it as a two-sided video; the forward-facing journey on one side and the rear looking journey on the reverse. The screen becomes a meniscus of the present, separating the past and the future.” - Daniel Crooks
Taking as a starting point films such as the Lumiere brother’s Leaving Jerusalem by Railway (1896), regarded today as the first ever tracking shot, Daniel Crooks’ Phantom Ride is a continuous journey through the natural and constructed landscapes of our contemporary environment.
The work references the phantom rides of early cinema, a genre of film popular in Britain and the United States in the early 1900s. Pre-dating narrative features, these short films showed the progress of a vehicle, usually a train, moving forward by mounting a camera on its front.
By seamlessly stitching together a series of tracks found in urban and country environments (including tram tracks, tram repair depots, and bridges and tunnels along disused country railways), Crooks’ Phantom Ride creates the illusion of a single journey through diverse worlds. Traveling simultaneously forwards and backwards, the work challenges the singular perspective of linear time to suggest a world in which multiple presents could be possible.
– Curator Emma McCrae
Daniel Crooks biography
Daniel Crooks works predominantly in video, photography and sculpture. He is best known for his digital video and photographic works that capture and alter time and motion. Crooks manipulates digital imagery and footage as though it were a physical material. He breaks time down, frame-by-frame. The resulting works expand our sense of temporality by manipulating digital ‘time slices’ that are normally imperceptible to the human eye.
Crooks’ works are in notable public collections, including, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; M+ / Museum of Visual Culture, Hong Kong; Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Melbourne; Museum of Old and New Art, Hobart; Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane; Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; and the Chartwell Collection, Auckland.
An interview with Daniel Crooks