Two channel HD Video
In September 2010, with only 1 year's experience, 13 year old Paige Wheeler became the youngest ever European Junior Drag Racing Champion. At regular race meetings during the summer season, hours of preparation culminate in eight seconds of critical psychological, physiological, electronic and mechanical activity. This study is a portrait of Paige and the rarified sport that she has made her own.
Since the invention of cinematography, artists have followed Edweard Muybridge in exploring human perception of time and motion, phenomena that are critically bound up in this pureset and most psychological form of motor racing.
In the drag race, human and machine, reality and simulation, brain and computer are perfectly merged. It is not just a matter of speed. It is about reaction time. Wait for the green light to come on and you have already lost, the racer must somehow predict when the green light will come on and she has to press the throttle.
At the heart of this video work is the way in which the athlete, in this case the driver, perceives and controls time. Hours of preparation merge into just a few seconds in a high speed series of still images on one screen, while, in the other, the eight second race is spun out in extreme slow motion to an imperceptible two hour duration. Perparation and execution times warp and change places in a giddy distortion of temporality that echoes the perceptual shifts of the driver.
Work in progress. Grateful thanks to Andy and Paige Wheeler and family. Cinematography: Ian Dodds.
Website and all images and text, unless otherwise attributed, © 2018 Paul Holmes.