Marco Brambilla

Wall of Death

In the carnival act Wall of Death a motorcyclist rides around the inside of a wooden drum, maintaining a delicate state of equilibrium between centrifugal force and gravity. The action is shot with a rotating camera mounted in the center of the drum as well as on a motorcycle tracking behind the rider. The shots were edited into a series of motion loops that become progressively shorter, creating the appearance of continuous motion.

The editing technique was inspired by the Kinetoscope films popular during the time the act was widely performed in the 1930’s. The rider appears caught in a never-ending circle where his ability to remain upright is based on never stopping. Wall of Death explores the relation between time and speed in a world dependent on constant motion.



Wall of Death, 2001
Single-channel video
Black and white, sound
2:40 min.

Collection New Line Cinema, Los Angeles

Halflife, Nevada Art Museum, Reno, 2004
Videodrome, 27 International Artists, Contemporary Arts Forum, Santa
Barbara, 2004
25th Anniversary, The LA Years, Part II, Christopher Grimes Gallery,
Santa Monica, 2004
In Action, Henry Urbach Architecture, New York, 2001
Wall of Death, La Box, Bourges, 2001