The initial inspiration for the film was an outdoor glass elevator and the visual, spatial and gravitational possibilities it presented me with. The work was also informed by an interest in panoramas, the urban landscape, as well as the topography of San Francisco. Finally, the shape and character of the work was tempered by reflections upon a lifetime of displacement, moving from place to place and haunted by recurring memories of other places I once passed through.
“… Gehr gives us an expansive view of the relationship between architecture, city streets and the movement on them, the medium of cinema, and patterns of thought.” – Fred Camper, Chicago Reader, February 17, 1995
“We couldn’t quite believe our eyes. The straight-forward pans and tilt shots of city street facades and rooftops, now rising and falling in a stately cadence, began to change. The change was not on the sunny panoramic surface of the screen – but in the materiality of the observed world. A nearby rooftop mushroomed up while the sidewalk remained static; streets and sidewalks sheared up to the sky like the cliffs of Yosemite; an upside-down penthouse soared over the San Francisco Bay serenely as a zeppelin ….” – Tony Reveaux, Artweek, July 23, 1992
“[T]he movie is pure sensation: it has the effect of a slow-motion roller coaster. The camera’s stately swoops and stomach-dropping descents obliterate all sense of gravity. San Francisco is so viscerally and obsessively transformed that Gehr might honorably have titled his movie Vertigo.” – J. Hoberman, The Village Voice, January 12, 1993