16mm, 7 min, 2023

This gentle trip from Viktoria Schmid surveys the architecture of Manhattan in a series of fixed-frame compositions, each exposed three times, through red, green, and blue filters. The city’s range of beiges, browns, and grays remain steady, while highlights and shadows splinter into geometric arrays of color. This tension between consistency and change draws the mind toward one of the traits of modern New York which Schmid avoids: its glass-facade new construction. The matter of what goes into making a city durable as both idea and place is a heavy one, though the film’s opalescent skies do help to lighten it. (Text: Phil Coldiron)

NYC RGB is part of a series of works in which Schmid looks back to early color film processes. Using a special technique of color separation, the real temporal dimension is condensed within triple exposures. The film was sent through the camera 3 times to expose the material with a different filter on each pass. First red, green, then blue. This method borrows from historical color film processes and corresponds to the separation of color by the photoreceptors in the human eye. The temporally staggered images go beyond a human experience of time/ the human perception. What becomes visible in the color overlays, respectively in the repetitions and the resulting differences, celebrates the past moment in its uniqueness. Each moment has never been there before and will never return.  The film was shot over a period of several months from the 20th floor of an apartment in New York City, where the artist lived in 2020 during the initial phase of the pandemic, and again in 2022. Musician Liew Niyomkarn composed a soundtrack from field recordings, recorded by Schmid during shooting the film, and synthesizer triads that are the acoustic counterpart to the RGB colors of the film. 

Further Projects