Cinéma trouvé is a specific cinematic experience outside the conventional cinematic apparatus. With reference to Marcel Duchamp’s objet trouvé, cinéma trouvé, or “readymade” cinema, can be understood as a form of cinema by other means. It is activated when one is looking out of the window while being transported by a mechanical vehicle, such as a tram. This experience evokes the bodily memory of a virtual movement in a moving image. On the most basic level, this is rooted in the complex phenomenon that the body is at rest while experiencing physical movement through space.
Cinema trouvé has been a reoccurring preoccupation in much of our earlier work, particularly in the project Heaven Can Wait, which has been going on since 2001. With this current project at ROM, we re-approach the cinéma trouvé phenomenon once again. This time as a lens through which urban knowledge about the city, as a site of media ecological development, can be studied and explored. In the installation we intend to build at ROM, we think of cinéma trouvé as a form of mapping. By collaborating with robotic technology in the exhibition space, we want to experiment with the possibility of making alternative cartographies that trace possible links between modernist panoramic spectatorship (Benjamin, Schivelbusch) and data-driven urban development.