Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Property Tours

Looking back at an old post on Burnt Offerings today I am making connections about some recent research into property tours and urban exploration. What binds these two phenomena is the style of filming where a mobile phone or small handheld camera is used to capture the POV moving shot through the front door into each room. Property tours allow the potential tenant to view before they view for real, the estate agent is alone and moves around the house narrating the pro's of each room on site. A strange quirk I have noticed is where the toilet has a bow round the seat or loo paper has been arranged on the seat, presumably as a sign that the 'deep clean' at the point of vacation has taken place, and the toilet has not been used since. The urban explorer is usually alone too, predicting reasons vocally on site as to why the property has been abandoned, often finding photographs and papers left in a hurried departure. There is a sense of the devil may care as they move up to the second floor or into dark basements that makes me think that they are aware of their role as Blair Witchesque narrator. In both YouTube genres the consciousness of the camera as presented via a style of filmmaking that is familiar from the horror film - the POV shot from the perspective of the killer/voyeur. Property tours videos are varied, I've been looking at: unfurnished rental, furnished rental, hi end sale, low end sale, hi end holiday home and low end holiday home.

Most holiday home property tours make me feel sad as what they sell is a place to have 'time off work'. These brief glimpses of involved time: with children, cooking, reading, cycling are spoken of as impermanent holiday activities that must be made the most of. The subtext is that this is a dream that will disappear when you leave. They also suggest that they can provide your fantasy for the aspiration that is no longer even a feasible option as you struggle to make ends meet and worry about how you are going to pay for your children's education. These are aspiration holiday camps where you can play at being the ideal couples who drink rose and eat asparagus everyday of the week, at having the time to aspire.

Hi end sales are uncanny in their use of automatic opening and closing doors that lend these furnishings an animistic quality. I wonder how the maker of this video could miss The Shining references, I've lent a hand:

Then I couldn't resist this either, it's a cheap effect: