A Moment in Time Video Project was developed by art teacher Kim Fitzer at Hinsdale Central High School for the University of Illinois at Chicago Contemporary Community Curriculum Initiative 2000.

The concept of freezing a moment in time has long been fascinating to visual artists. Throughout history, painters and sculptors have endeavored to re-create one second in time that represents a larger narrative. With the invention of photography, the artist was suddenly able to capture a "decisive moment" in time, creating an image that was perceived to be more real, more immediate, and more objective than painting.

Photography came to be viewed as the "real thing," the documentation of truth, despite the fact that, through darkroom manipulation, a photograph could be altered to express a personal point of view. The photographers, like the artists before them, hoped they would leave the viewer knowing just how vital that moment was, and why they chose that particular scene to illustrate it.

The power of a single image has become less important with the widespread use of film and video. The moving picture has become far more accepted in our culture as witness to the truth of the story than the static image. Movietone News, the Zapruder film, the Rodney King video, MTV and countless other films, documentaries, and television broadcasts have been indelibly etched into our collective minds' eye as the defining moments of our time. And while the still image still wields power for most of us, it is the image in motion that completely captures our attention.

This video project is an exploration of two visual experiences: the image in motion and the image frozen in time.

The first part of the project investigates the image in motion through students collaboratively planning and creating a video with a carefully considered, but non-narrative succession of images. One of the objectives of the project is to stimulate creativity and break through the custom of requiring a beginning, a middle, and an end to every story or sequence of images.

The second part of the project explores the image frozen in time, using the video footage already taken. Students photograph three successive frames of video directly from the video monitor and then manipulate the images using image editing and painting software, creating grainy, distorted, yet visually beautiful images.

Through the Moment in Time Video Project, high school students explore aesthetic issues related to contemporary and traditional styles of documenting life. They learn to create and be aware of formal beauty by recording, selecting, and manipulating ordinary scenes using a "high tech" process.