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39 Minutes by Sparky Campanella

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Alzheimer’s runs deep in my family. My mom died of it, as did my grandfather—her father, as did my great–grandfather—her grandfather. My potential for getting the disease is a defining element of my life. With 39 minutes I’ve captured an entire year (2006) on film and created my own insurance policy against the illness. Even if I succumb, I will have one year that will always be graspable, orderly, rational. Of course if that day comes I may not have the mental acuity to actually collect on the policy, but today I take comfort in the glowing reassurance of being able to revisit even the most banal moments of that year.

At midnight on December 31 2005, I set my 35mm camera to take one picture every thirty–nine minutes, thus exposing one roll of film each day during 2006. My life was traced at passionless intervals with a constant composition, fixed exposure, available light and automatic shutter release. This use of available light and constant exposure meant that once the lights went out, the film recorded only the black of night. Once the camera was set–up, all I did was change film and batteries. Careful composition was replaced with composition by repetition. Artistic genius was replaced by a mechanical servant that faithfully cataloged the year’s memories and brought an unmediated measure to that year of my life.

All of 2006 is condescended into an unedited 30–minute flipbook–style video; 45 days (from August 15 - September 30) are excerpted here to form a 4–minute video. Each day comprises just under 4 seconds, momentary reminders of the mix of light–dark, depression–celebration, banality–sexuality, work–leisure, and companionship–solitude that comprised the tapestry of my life that year.

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