According to a top secret report by the Space Alien Commission, produced in 2021 but only now seeing the light of day, albeit clandestinely, their research has indicated that there are 5000 Space Aliens living on Earth whom they have been observing and recording, their findings gathered in a montage of footage with only one second of each individual included to minimise the danger of prolonged exposure.
A metronomic procession of glimpses totalling one hour, twenty-three minutes and twenty seconds, topped and tailed by introduction and necessary credits, the equal weight given to each flash of motion means that none are emphasised, that there is no hierarchy or purpose imposed upon the data or to be gleaned from this evidence of their presence here, simply that they exist and that they are among us, more or less passing as human though with a distinct bias towards the photogenic in their chosen appearances.
Some of them familiar, even recognisable, they are thoughtful, communicative, flirtatious, most of them apparently affluent; many of them are smokers or drinkers, and some are musicians while others are scientists, while physical activity largely involves beaches, but while they are apparently ubiquitous and have made their lives here, they are also tourists, wanting to experience our way of life even as they question our rockets, bombs and “poisoned luxuries.”
The footage gathered, modified and edited by director Scott Bateman who also provides the soundtrack which recalls the contributions of Philip Glass to the similarly abstract Koyaanisqatsi in its repeating patterns and motifs, 5000 Space Aliens is an experiment but the subject is the viewer, a Rorschach test of how humans absorb visual information, seeking patterns and identifying faces, a flash exercise in the immediacy of empathy as each individual is momentarily mentally assigned a personality and motivation before being cast into the drift.
The problem of the collation and analysis of the results one to be resolved by the Space Alien Commission itself, there are subtle acknowledgements of the history of science fiction, a floating bone precipitating war which echoes 2001: A Space Odyssey, the fleeting impression of the face of the “Bride of Frankenstein,” but it is indicated that these aliens are mortal, concerned with disease as much as beauty, and while they are not exclusively white they are all westernised in appearance, setting and behaviour, yet what they present is an artificial life, a constructed and misleading fabrication of reality.
Sourced from the poses and pouts of classic advertising and information films of the nineteen fifties restructured with filters and repurposed into a uniform structureless flow, as much as there is variation there is also repetition and trends in the trapdoors and platforms, women in swimwear while men are in mountains, the passage of time difficult to judge without the frame of reference of dialogue, travel or tasks, but finishing as abruptly as it starts the departure leaves the sad certainty that given the vintage of much of the footage many of these 5000 space aliens no longer walk among us.
5000 Space Aliens will be available on digital download from Tuesday 21st November