Single-channel, high definition video, 16:9 format
With its title taken from Richard Sarafian's 1971 road movie, Janet Biggs' new video Vanishing Point looks at the ways in which an individual vanishes. Informed by her experiences with the effects of Alzheimer's disease, Biggs asks, "When are we no longer ourselves?" Combining images of motorcycle speed record holder Leslie Porterfield on the salt flats of Utah with Harlem's Addicts Rehabilitation Center Gospel Choir performing a song written specifically for the video, Biggs' Vanishing Point examines the struggle to maintain one's identity, the roll of those who witness that identity vanishing, and a search for freedom that can end in destruction or transcendence.
Leslie Porterfield is fast. After a devastating crash on the Bonneville Salt Flats at over 100 mph in 2007 she returned in 2008 and broke three world motorcycle records with a top speed of 234 mph. Filmed during these record breaking runs, Biggs' captures Porterfield's intense focus when everything is stripped away but the desire to be the fastest in the world.
In 1975, James Allen, a former addict and founder of Harlem's Addicts Rehabilitation Center, started an acapella choral group which became the ARC Gospel Choir. Since its inception the choir has dedicated itself to fight against addiction and to regain hope through the songs they sing.
Biggs collaborated with Grammy nominated composer Barney McAll on the song that the ARC choir performs in the video. With lyrics by Biggs and music by McAll, the song explores feelings of isolation and self-loss which lead some on a search to regain not only their identity, but to transcend all limits.
Utah's salt flats, the site of the Bonneville speed trials, offers an otherworldly landscape echoing the endless horizons in Sarafian's film. Seen as an essay on existentialism, Sarafian's Vanishing Point is noted for its social commentary of the post-Woodstock mood of the 1970s, a time when some became disillusioned and took extreme risks to regain a sense of self.
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