Tectonic Plate

January 1, 1970

Tectonic Plate is a cameraless film about fear of flying, security checks and time zones.

After returning from a lengthy business trip to Tokyo, the  nameless protagonist is inexplicably stuck at a hotel nearby the Helsinki airport. The events are fixed to the character’s life-style of constant jet lag and multitasking.  The use of various technical devices, such as phones, computers and heart rate monitors, slivers his time-management and modifies the consciousness.

The episodes of on-screen texts and of moving image alternate in the narration of this dualistic work.

The techniques used for the moving images are photocopying documents related to air-travel directly onto clear 35mm film and darkroom exposure of objects placed on 35mm reversal film (photograms).

In the ’camera-less’ experiment Tectonic Plate, visual-artist Mika Taanila’s photograms and poet Harry Salmenniemi’s stark intertitles simulate the jet-laggy anxiety of international air travel. Pages from security pamphlets are distorted into rough particles of grain; a five-minute zoom-out transforms words into geometric patterns. These shifts between legibility and abstraction often literally force the viewer’s eyes to refocus, dislocating both cognitive and sensory perception; the resulting dissociative panic produces a very bodily feeling of free fall. The physically droughts photograms, which alternatively evoke encephalographs or airport x-rays of carry-on items, anchor the out-of-body paranoia in an unshakable tactility.

– Chloe Lizotte, Film Comment


Distributed by Arsenal (Berlin) and AV-arkki (Helsinki).

VOD rent or buy here:

link to trailer

buy Blu-ray Box Set at Lux Shop (London)

film poster by Markus Pyörälä
film poster by Markus Pyörälä

Selected screenings: