It's funny the first time Shatner yells it out. It is, after all, the named-turned-curse heard throughout a galaxy.
That one word – that one syllable – that Kirk bellows is maybe the most quoted line that one could ever associate with any version of Star Trek. But it's still kind of funny. Video artist Daniel Martinico thought so too. “I've done a bunch of cutups, and found footage before,” he said, but it was re-watching Wrath of Khan where he realized that within those few seconds before and after Kirk's word there's an incredible range of emotion, even strong acting going on.
Last week Machine Project in Echo Park showed Martinco's 15-minute meticulously re-spliced creation in a never-ending loop that transforms the moment from one of anguish (or snickering for the the audience) into a meditation, maybe even a mantra. (Read on to see a clip of the film.)
This short clip of Martinico's film doesn't begin to do justice to the size, sound and hypnotic power of the real thing. But it'll give you a taste…
You'll notice the crowd gets quiet after the first few seconds. It draws you in, forces you to pay attention, even if it's just staring at the back and forth eye tics on Shatner's face for a minute at a time.
“In that moment everyone responds to it,” Martinico says. There's laughing at first, but then people get into the rhythm of it and study the various little muscles as they pull and twitch on Kirk's face. “It's a phenomenal range in just a few seconds.”
When I mentioned this event to my friend Ed Horneij, he told me how much he thought Shatner was underrated as an actor. Nothing may go further to proving his belief than spending half an hour watching “Khaaaaaan!”
Matrincio can be contacted through Machine Project while he retools his website, and check out their calendar for many more interesting ways to spend an evening, including Thursday's event of slug mating and lemon racing. (really)