The BQE

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Commissioned by the Brooklyn Academy of Music, The BQE debuted in 2007 as a multimedia performance piece featuring three side-by-side 16 mm film projections, a live orchestral score, and Hula-hooping dancers. This film doesn't document that performance but instead presents its tripartite film projection and accompanying score, which were shot and composed by Sufjan Stevens. The films consist of vintage-looking 8 mm and 16 mm footage shot on and around the BQE, traffic and architecture intercut with scenes of three colorfully uniformed, Hula-hooping muses (the "hooper heroes") gyrating their rings by the roadside. An unsubtle cut from hoopers to some tires indicates that these are goddesses of the perpetual motion of the highway system, patrons of all those wheels stuck spinning in traffic. As the credits roll, we see the BQE abandoned but for some bicyclists, lending only the slightest hint of urban-planning critique to an otherwise lyrical but seemingly neutral ode to an American freeway.

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