Sound and Vision

A screening of digital animation and music visualisation

Originally Curated by Adam Procter & Jason Wilson.

Treating of artistic practices that visualize the previously invisible, Lev Manovich writes "I often find myself moved by these projects emotionally. Why? Is it because they carry the promise of rendering the phenomena of the human senses into something that is within our reach, something visible and tangible?… Data visualization art is concerned with the anti-sublime". Thus Manovich raises the spectre of the category traditionally posed as the 'anti-sublime', the Beautiful…
Sound and Vision is a screening of short works that use a range of techniques to integrate and transform music within digitally animated works. Whether or not these works are abstract or generative, all of them possess the unsettling affective power that many recent works of visualization share.
Though many of the screened artists have taken advantage of the possibilities online distribution and exhibition, these films will be featured on a large projection screen.


Sound & Vision Screening

What is a short film?

Few of the works on the programme contain any photographic material, and none of them are 'films' in the sense of being celluloid prints prepared for mechanical projection. Few of them have been made with cinematic exhibition in mind. The contexts in which they will most often have been seen are web browsers, media players, video iPods, televisions, or projection screens in bars, clubs or galleries rather than cinema screens. More viewers will have downloaded them than bought a ticket to watch them over hot-buttered popcorn. The filmmakers come from a variety of backgrounds (few would describe themselves as filmmakers pure and simple) and the films are made for a variety of purposes (as club visuals, music videos, software experiments or internet art) which do not meet our immediate expectations of what film, even what short film, might be. Though many are severe in their abstraction, and most not narrative in any conventional sense, they do not proclaim the 'revolutionary', anti-illusionist ambitions, nor radiate the self-importance of earlier generations of avant-garde filmmaking. And yet they come alive, reveal new secrets, occasionally overwhelm us when they are projected on a cinematic scale and accorded the attention spectators habitually bring to film. For all their differences, and all their novelty, most can be seen to embody film's perennial concerns. How is it that works made in edit windows on LCD monitors can be unfolded to fill the big screen and still claim our attention? What new flexibilities do digital production, distribution and exhibition bring to film? What kinds of flexibility have been there all along?


What is a soundtrack?

What is vision, as distinct from the other cinematic elements? Which is the primary element in film? Many of the films on show this evening set up generative relationships between sound and vision where, after certain parameters are set in place, what we see has been generated algorithmically from what we hear. These are works in which sound is prior to vision - temporally, formally, practically and logically. Others generate figuration - often grotesque or rudimentary - from 'found' sound or field recordings. Others create animations which attempt to match the mood of sound recordings, but in a ways that are outside the usual practices of music video. The capacity of digital filmmakers to construct new kinds of relationships between sound and vision using code, new editing tools, and new visual techniques has led to a complete reorganisation of film's possibilities which, though far quieter in its reception, is as significant as the arrival of sound pictures. What are the possibilities of such techniques in relation to narrative film, or do we need to rethink our ideas about what narrative can be?


What is cinema, as a medium?

What is a cinema, as a site of exhibition? We hope these films will show that, despite the proliferating screens of contemporary media culture, the spaces and practices of cinematic exhibition still offer unique opportunities for us to understand and enjoy the arts of the moving image.

Title Artist Link
Slow Life Dylan Jones http://www.superfurry.com/
Together with the Super Furry Animals languid neopsychedelia, the visuals in this film are homage and response to the acid-fried audiovisual culture of the 1960's underground. Heat cameras and digital editing tools are the means, the result is trippy, fluid and gorgeous.
The Exploding Psychology Effekt http://effekts.dk/
One of two films from the Danish Collective Effekt has a landscape of angular wireframes and piercing laser beams twisting and shaking in response to the skittering beats and glitches of UK noisemeister, Squarepusher. Clearly informed by the groups background as club VJs, this is startling generative work.
Rootsnine Monkeymen http://www.monkeymen.tv/
Familiar forms from nature, politics and everyday life are forced into new configurations on an antiseptically white background. Cascades of dollar bills, death heads and elephants are melded or a film which is part political commentary, part post-Photoshop apocalypse.
What is that Run Wrake http://www.runwrake.com/
This is a key work from one of the UK's most prominent and innovative digital animators. Found sound is used to drive a work which is figurative, but plays out like the contents of your strangest dreams. Hybrids and grotesques populate a day-glo world that unfolds with its own images.
Park Football Grant Orchard http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/filmnetwork/A4094958/
As a piece of narrative, this film is the soul of simplicity, chronicling a game of football in a park. Its interest lies in its clever use of found sound.
Monocodes Alex Rutterford http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alex_Rutterford
Alex Rutterford's 'Monocodes' is the film with the clearest links to, and awareness of, the longest histories of avante-garde animation. Minimalist, geometric shapes are set to processed found noises in a film that takes familiar noises and makes them strange.
Ionisation Flat-e http://www.flat-e.com/
Flat-e's nightmare creatures come to us from our bad dreams
Calcium City Clemens Kogler http://www.clemenskogler.net/motion.php
Clemens short piece bridges the gap between sixties kitsch, graphic design and animation. Your Granny's curtains, suddenly in motion.
The Happy Sea Carolina Melis http://www.lumeneclipse.com/gallery/03/colleen/
Melis Cleaves pastorla imagery to the 'digital folk' of electronic musicians, Colleen. This piece differs from the remaninder of the films for its refusal of overt technological imagery, instead crafting a rural idyll.
SchnittMenge Spenza http://www.vakant.net/vx/
Spenza's distinctly architectural abstraction is mercilessly hammered and shaken by a barnstorming drum and bass track. This is film as four-dimensional design: "Schnittmenge' rocks the CADstation.
Trion Karl Kliem http://www.dienststelle.de/video-visuals.htm/
Karl Kliems painterly, monochrome abstraction is here tied generatively to a spare piano/glitch work by composer Ryuchi Sakamoto. Deceptively simple, haunting and affecting.
Owl Emmanuel Ho http://www.emmanuelho.com/
Emmanuels Ho's 'Owl' is an unagruable masterpiece of digital animation. The Subtle textural effects, the minimal but effective narrative, and the mood of dread - enhanced by the sound track music - all contribute to a short, but incandescent filmic experience.
Jesse Graham Wood http://www.4ad.com/scottwalker/video/jesse-file/
Graham Wood, from tomato, provides enough murk and confusion here to perfectly accompany Scott Walker's lament for Elvis Presley's stillborn twin. The few recognisable shapes are iconic rather than figurative, and for the most part the piece calls to mind the intricate pattern-making of Islamic Art. An earthy colour palette and odd textures make this film unsettling but compelling.
Silent Shout Andreas Nilsson http://www.theknife.net/
Nilsson's disturbing clip for The Knife's song of the same name combines generative abstraction and come truly creepy figurative work. An unusual combination of two visual styles.
E-Sign Chris Larkee http://www.knellotron.com/
This piece combines a range of influences- Kubrick, Kraftwerk, panel van airbrush art - to produce a spacey, airy, upbeat slice of abstract sci-fi. Look, and listen, to the skies !
Electronic Performers Boutdoiseau, Ganzerli, Blanquet http://www.onedotzero.com/track.php?id=64&dvd=2810308
This video for Airs 'Electronic Performers' combines generative, wireframe visuals with a tour of the landscape of inner space. Tron meets Grey's anatomy from a French team who are, sadly, no longer together.
Streets Le Cabinet http://www.onedotzero.com/new/dvd/lecabinet.html/
More French Technophillia in the short piece that gives us a city of the future now.
Peace of Video Effekt http://effekts.dk/
The second film from Effekt is a different beast from ' The Exploding Psychology'. They meet ambient electronic with a landscape, generatively lit from within. The longest piece in the session, this one is moody, subtle and rewarding.
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