Here’s a truly bizarre little film about crossing San Francisco Bay in a homemade rowboat. Some guy named Steve MacDonald emailed me to let me know about the film, which he put up on You Tube. The film consists of footage of MacDonald rowing across the Bay, accompanied by audio of “recorded telephone conversations between Steve and various representatives of local agencies (Coast Guard, Parks and Recreation, etc.).”
“The visual quality of the film, washed out super8 footage which simply presents us with the repetitive act of rowing the boat, is contrasted with the immediacy and specifics of the telephone dialogue. This fleeting sense of meaning, and misunderstanding, strikes a chord familiar in Steve’s work: funny, yes, but not without a touch of longing and melancholy.”
Okay, sure. But the film really is worth a watch. Steve basically calls folks up and says, “Hey, I’m going to row across the Bay in my homemade rowboat. Do you have any advice?” The responses range from laughter, to well-wishes, to slightly angry skepticism. My favorite moment is when Steve asks a woman on the other end of the line, “What happens if I sink?”
No one really seems to have any answers, which is perhaps the point.