Hitchcock's 1948 film Rope is best known for having
been filmed in only ten extended takes. This video, representing an excerpt from one channel of a ten-channel work, is a reprocessing
of the ninth shot of the film. In the completed work, all ten shots will be shown simultaneously on ten monitors.
Unravelling reconsiders this cinema landmark by subjecting each of these shots to the slitscan technique, which smears
time across the horizontal axis of the screen: the right-hand side of the screen shows pixels almost a minute earlier than
those on the left.
The original film is already verging on the abstract. The central focus
of Rope, more than character or plot, is the inescapable gaze of the camera as it transverses and explores the claustrophobic
space of the single room in which the action takes place. By spatializing the camera's temporal movement, and showing each
shot on a separate screen, The Unravelling proposes a new perspective on both the form and content of the original
The small vocabulary of objects and characters, simultaneously appearing in different
perspectives, provide a kind of Cubist simultaneity, revealing the tight drama of every visual element in the work, while
the movement of the camera is transformed into a visual liquefaction of space and object. The relentlessly unfolding, unbroken
time of the film becomes a landscape, a panorama of a single apartment in a single afternoon.
the original film is not terribly concerned with telling a story - the unblinking gaze remains the star throughout - the characters,
involved in an almost satanic charade of concealment, continuously appear, dissolve, and reform. The instability of their
physical selves, and the monstrous transformations of their visages reflect the hidden agendas and constantly shifting relationships
between the characters.
The audio in this work is derived from the sound of the original film as
well. Using an analogous algorithm to the slitscan technique used with the video, the actor's words are likewise spread out
through time, resulting in shifting textures in which vocal qualities, but not words, are perceptible.