Nicholas Fraser, Follow, 2015, single-channel video, duration: 8:42

Fascinated with the variety and inventiveness of urban signage and seeking ways to create text-based videos, I began filming storefronts in 2010. My quixotic goal was to collect a comprehensive video-based lexicon as raw material for my own projects. Only later did I realize the 2,400+ videos also function as a manifold portrait of contemporary urban life in public spaces. Each video captures the day-to-day activities of the streetscape, documenting a wide ranging portrait of 21st century culture.

 

These storefronts serve as witness to the momentous and mundane even as they too are continuously transformed. The temporal nature of all aspects of human culture are themes I have continually explored in my projects.

 

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I’m also converting Fronts into a public resource, YouTube meets StreetView, encouraging spectators to become contributors and creators. Every raw, unedited video is available on a Vimeo channel (vimeo.com/channels/fronts) and the project recently received support from the New York Foundation for the Arts to create a stand-alone website. Free memberships will allow participants to add video of their own sites and storefronts and access all videos for any non-commercial purpose. My own video assemblages will ‘seed’ a gallery of participant projects utilizing the resource. Software allowing anyone to enter text and autogenerate scrolling videos is planned. Crowd-sourcing the collection of videos serves both functions of the project, ensuring both a diverse portrait of our culture and as complete a lexicon as humanly possibly.

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