Inspired by Operation JaneWalk by Leonhard Müllner and Robin Klengel (a tour of New York through its representation in the videogame The Division 2), Vin Diesel’s Alternative Guide To Barcelona is a video essay providing an accurate account of the history and culture of the Spanish city through the eyes of a virtual Vin Diesel. His avatar from the 2009 video game Wheelman (Vin Diesel) frames the entire movie, which culminates with a powerful meditation on the City's inexorable gentrification process. Clocking at around 30 minutes, Vin Diesel’s Alternative Guide To Barcelona comprises video game footage, archive footage from a variety of sources, and video shot by the artist. The time-lapse showing the rise and rise of Barcelona is truly breathtaking: it looks like something out of SimCity or Cities: Skylines. As Tom Davies writes,
Vin Diesel is re-imagined as a knowledgeable local guide, his soft gravely voice leading us through turbulences past and present. The narration, just like the video, is a composite of both literary and historical accounts documenting the huge transformations that have grown to characterize the city, as well as incorporating my perspective as someone who was born here and has experienced it’s most recent history myself.
Tom Davies is a media-tinkerer from Barcelona, Spain. He studied Social and Cultural Anthropology at University of Barcelona. He’s interested in images as vessels of information and mystery. Today, he thinks the purpose of art, perhaps, is to trick people into listening to each other.
LINK: Tom Davies Valls