david han

A little north, a little nicer

There is something to the experience of growing up in the suburbs that is reminiscent of digital video. Maybe it's the bungalows with the aluminum siding, or the ubiquitous minivans that prowl the streets, but there is a quality to this place that seems to elude the sumptuousness of film and the ungainliness of analog video. It is a place that seems to exist symbiotically with digital video, forming an effortless, wordless partnership.

While the suburbs are often criticized, like digital video, for being cold and alienating, such criticism often overlooks an underlying beauty. These four short videos are experiments which attempt to explore the underlying beauty of both digital video and the suburbs.

'A little north, a little nicer', is a reference to the official motto of my home town, Richmond Hill, a growing suburb of the city of Toronto.


'Permutations/Combinations' is a study of the homogenous nature of suburban housing. It details both convergent and divergent trends in landscaping and home decoration.

'Permutations/Combinations 1: House 1'. 2006. Digital video. 1 minute.

'Permutations/Combinations 2: House 2'. 2006. Digital video. 1 minute.

'Permutations/Combinations 3: House 2'. 2007. Digital video. 1:57 minutes.


Haiku is form of poetry that usually refers to the natural environment and generally avoids the use of metaphor. Similarly, advertising copy is succinct, clear and likewise avoids the use of metaphors. 'Surfaces' is an attempt to appropriate the language of advertising - so prevalent in the suburban environment - and force it into a haiku-like structure. This text is then overlaid on top of a fragmented video loop.

'Surfaces'. 2006. Digital video. 6:07 minutes.

The Broken Surveillance Tapes

In a suburban landscape dominated by commercial interests, the aesthetic of surveillance technology has become associated with notions of truth and reality. Add to this the meteoric rise in the popularity of reality TV and the immediacy of the digital video aesthetic is reinforced further. 'The Broken Surveillance Tapes' plays with this association of truth to the aesthetic of hyper-digital, surveillance-like imagery. By creating fiction from fact, this video is an attempt to question the truth of the DV aesthetic. In other words, to question the fact in fiction.

'The Broken Surveillance Tapes'. 2006. Digital video. 6:26 minutes.

The Route

Driving. An inevitable suburban experience. 'The Route' imagines a character whose daily musings trace a meandering path along the crescents and cul-de-sacs of his neighbourhood.

'The Route'. 2006. Digital video. 4:28 minutes.