The Topsy-Turvy World of Toronto Subways
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The Topsy-Turvy World of Toronto Subways

A trip on a Toronto subway is more often than not a sedate experience. With the exception of eccentric fellow passengers, and the occasional break provided by station buskers livening up the morning commute, it’s typically a lackadaisical, mundane affair.
That is, unless you find a way to look at the experience though a different lens. Almost literally doing that is Stan Krzyzanowski, who recently put together some videos of ordinary TTC subway experiences, rendered extraordinary by reimagining them as images you’d see through a kaleidoscope.
The artist and OCADU faculty member tells us that technically, the process is “actually very simple and straightforward.” He records video with his point and shoot camera and then assembles the videos in Flash, flipping the shots upside down and left to right. Krzyzanowski developed this series out of a few other projects he worked on in which he was using actual mirrors to shoot video, and using mirrors in the video. (He recently had an installation at Roadside Attractions, for instance, which included an actual kaleidoscope in the gallery window.)

The subway videos aren’t Krzyzanowski’s first foray into kaleidoscopic reinterpretation: he’s put together videos based on the view from his bike, going down old back lanes, looking at graffiti, and while checking out a recent Luminato performance. “What I like about these,” he told us about the TTC videos in particular, “is that there’s a kind of a movement happening, visually, but you’re also catching the ambient sounds in the background and it makes a really nice soundtrack… Everyone knows the sound of the train speeding up and slowing down, the ding-dong of the doorbell.” He goes on to add that they are especially fun to shoot because rather than fighting to hold his camera steady—what photographers typically do when shooting on a moving vehicle—in this case he’s actually intentionally creating movement, utilizing the motion of the trains in the shooting process.
Krzyzanowski isn’t sure what he’ll shoot next—he prefers to travel with his camera and film as things strike him rather than planning in advance—but if these are any indication, his subjects are sure to benefit from the kaleidoscope treatment.