Muri Romani is I suppose a kind of documentary in a somewhat radical form. In appearance it is utter simplicity: the image of a patch of wall in Rome, today. As one watches the wall seems to change, invisibly, without technical means. The sound is a collage of street sounds: motorinos, bells, people talking, trams, sirens -- the daily sounds of central Rome.

Somewhere in the passage of watching I think the viewer - at least those tolerant of such a kind of work, so antithetical to normal film expectations - begins to ponder the passage of time, of history, and perhaps in some odd way, the meaning of life. Or at least that is my intention and hope.

The work is composed of some 280 “still” shots taken with a DV camera, which were carefully edited in a long sequence of continuous dissolves. Editing decisions were based on the aesthetic commonality between images so that one does not “see” a dissolve, but rather the image seems only to change in time. Philosophically and artistically in my mind it was akin to setting up a camera and leaving it for 2000 years, and compressing the shot into 80 minutes.

I intend to make an longer installation version using some 1000 images, and anticipate a running time in excess of 8 hours for it.

1999-2000 | Digital Video | Color | Sound | 80 minutes

Camera, edit, and concept : Jon Jost

Shown at: the 2000 Rotterdam Film Festival (only a fragment), Jeonju International Film Festivl (S. Korea), Popcorn Film Festival (Stockholm), and the 2001 Rome International Exposition of Photography (as an installation work)