The trains in Tokyo are a very important part of everyday life and of the city's culture. Most people spend a good part of their day sleeping in trains next to strangers-the average commute in Tokyo is over one hour long and for many getting a seat is an instant opportunity to close their eyes and gravitate, both physically (by leaning on their fellow commuter's shoulders) and mentally (by falling into a dreamlike state of which they magically awake when the train stops at their destination).

As the train advances, the Tokyo commuter, not fully awake opens his eyes, if so slightly, from time to time to see dreamlike images appear and disappear in the shadows cast on the floors by the light coming through the windows.

The videos in Tokyo Train Dreams are meant to represent the dream-like state experienced daily by the average Tokyo commuter. It speaks to my own daily experience (even as I write this on a train with a fellow commuter on my shoulder) in observing this important cultural phenomenon, and to the fact that the train's motion accelerates the process by which the images on the floor move around the surface (they would move slowly if the train were stationary due to rotation of the earth).

The windows blocked by objects that obscure the moving train act like the shutter of a camera so that when the light enters the trains it creates shadows, of trees and other real world elements, which appear and disappear in fractions of a second. These abstract figures are for the commuter images of objects between dream and reality, magical representations of his dream-like state and daily journey.

The viewer who observes the videos will see these images of objects appear and disappear, and in sensing the motion of the shadows be led to wonder what is really moving. Is it the images or is it the floor? Is it the viewer? The work plays with this visual illusion to represent the space between dream and reality in which millions of people around the world live in their daily morning train commute.

Please click on the images to view the videos.

© 1992-2001 Alejandro Jaimes-Larrarte - All Rights Reserved.
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