Forward Through Backwards Time


The folks at Rocketboom released a lovely, dreamlike episode this week in which host Joanne Colan appears to move forward in time through a reverse-time New York City.

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  1. The film is delightful, but the contrast between the life that exits in NYC vs Winnipeg (where I’ve lived my whole life) is quite striking. Our streets are barren, theirs are fertile.

  2. I’ve got good news! That gum you like is going to come back in style!

    I feel like I know her, but sometimes my arms bend back.

  3. Makes me think of the video for The Scientist by Coldplay. It was filmed with the singer lip-syncing backwards but moving forward, and then reversed.

  4. That was pretty cool.
    Although, I’m surprised she wasn’t arrested for doing that. These days it seems like doing anything that isn’t “normal” makes you a criminal.

  5. Cool video! The way she does things backward looks so calmly that I hardly see any error. There are a few people looking at her, though.

    This can be a new style of making personal videos. Isn’t it cool if you can share a video of you walking through backward time in your city or town?

  6. Wait a moment! Is this to say that is not what reality looks like? Whoa…I gotta sit down quik.

  7. This reminds me of the Nicolas Cage movie, Bringing Out The Dead. There’s an awesome scene in that filmed in a similar way, where the snow appears to be rising from the ground whilst Cage walks normally.

  8. The hard part isn’t the walking in the wrong direction – it’s when you change directions and first start walking back in time, and again when you turn back forward in time: if you aren’t careful, you risk bumping into yourself in your subjective past and causing a time paradox.

    If you turn around carelessly, you may end up existing more than twice at the same moment of time, and that only increases the risk of shoving yourself around in time and space. Once you accidentally have more than a few copies of yourself at the same moment of time near the same point, you’ll need a lot of open space to converge on a stable timeline where no copy of yourself bumps into another.

    If there’s no space – say, you try to switch time-directions in an elevator – just a small mistake in the turn can end up in tragedy, as more and more simultaneous copies of yourself bounce around uncontrollably in time and space, and fill the elevator at an exponential rate. Every time an elevator around here explodes, this effect is the first thing that comes to my mind.

    So, let’s be careful when making videos like this!

  9. Meh. Reminds me of the recent Evol short which had basically the same premise only done better and without looking so forced.

  10. Yes, she’s walking backwards. It’s all very beautiful. But isn’t it subtle, and you can tell from how her legs and body move that she’s walking backwards. She’s more upright when moving backwards, than forward walkers are when moving forward. Her hips and legs also move differently, more rotationally, then driving directly back and forth.

    Even the Evol short exaggerated or hid much of the body walking bits.

    Some good body acting could mask these little problems entirely.

  11. That was beautiful. I remember something similar doen for Sesame Street back in the ’70’s – a guy in a white suit walking through New York. Lovely. Thanks.

  12. Theres a Red Dwarf episode where they land on Earth after the universe stopped expanding and started contracting, making time move backward.

    i don’t know why they say time travelers who meet themselves die from shock; i would only die of sheer delight that I could hang out with a future me.

  13. isn’t that an old video? or did i just travel forward back to the past when it was a new video?

  14. If the people on the escalator are going down backwards it means in forward time they would be going up forwards, yet she is on a different escalator also going up forwards. Two up escalators?

    I did enjoy that though, especially the cute music.

  15. @#19 That Red Dwarf episode is great (Backwards from Season III, 1989). Here is a clip from YouTube that has some of the best one-liners and some great backwards shots:

    Here’s another clip from the episode that shows part of the backwards clip forwards so you actually hear what’s being said before they reverse the film — classic!

  16. Wow, can’t believe I’m the only one thinking it was, for lack of a better term, faked. OK, staged. She’s walking forwards, everybody else has been choreographed to walk backwards. Their feet strikes just don’t look natural to me. This would also explain the escalator.

    A for effort, C- for execution.

  17. “If the people on the escalator are going down backwards it means in forward time they would be going up forwards, yet she is on a different escalator also going up forwards. Two up escalators?”

    Uh, the escalators are going in opposite directions. That remains true whichever way round you play the video.

    In real life, she was facing upwards on a down escalator (so she couldn’t see where she was going). When the video is reversed, she is facing upwards on an (apparently) up escalator.

    Nothing strange here.

  18. Wow – that was totally cool!

    A friend of mine made a very similar video a few years back. His incorporates a lot of other time/space discontinuities, but also has similar backwards forwards elements.

    Its set to a really sweet tune by Explosions in the Sky:

  19. Wow – that was totally cool!

    A friend of mine made a very similar video a few years back. His incorporates a lot of other time/space discontinuities, but also has similar backwards forwards elements.

    Its set to a really sweet tune by Explosions in the Sky:

  20. One of my favorite old music videos, where the screen is split in half, and one half shows the video running forward, and the other backwards. Definitely worth a look!

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