February 14, 2010

Project Report - Week #5

Not a whole lot to report this week. I spent the week cutting up video clips and arranging them in a conceptual matrix that I can use for improvisation. I'm trying to make things as hands-off as possible but without making things predictable.

I've begun working on the audio for the project. My initial idea was to record a large number of sound samples and have them operate in a similar way as the video (i.e. quasi-random algorithmic movement across a conceptual matrix).

Now, though, after watching the results of the video patch, I want to try to work with a very small amount of source material and rely upon alteration of that material to add complexity to the piece. Since the video has such minimal imagery, I feel that a large amount of sonic material would be overwhelming.

I thought about space a great deal in filming the video clips. Often times, by using mirrors and TV screens, the camera itself can be seen onscreen and much of the imagery is focused on antennae and other transmission devices. The act of putting these devices (which generally project sound and video) inside the video sets up complex spatial relationships that I would like to explore in the audio.

Earlier this year, I wrote an analysis of Alvin Lucier's piece I Am Sitting In A Room. I find myself returning to many of these ideas I explored in that paper with this current project.

Alvin Lucier - I Am Sitting In A Room


  1. I think that what you have so far is a great start. I really liked the way that it has come together so far even if you need more technical development to tighten things up for performance. It seems like a minimal, layered approach to your sound would be a very good way to introduce the sound with some continuity in the simplistic sort of themes. The use of positive and negative space with a lot of white/brightness seems to lend a lot of strength and clarity to the concept. It makes everything look very clean and line up in a very calculated, intentional sort of appearance. I believe these strengths will serve you well in the end, rather than trying to be too complex and losing sight of basic concepts or trying to overload the viewer's senses when performing the piece.

  2. I agree that you should have a small amount of sound material to accompany the small amount of video material. Although having a large amount of audio might help fill the white space. It might get boring if there isn't enough to see and hear.

    I'm not a big advocator of minimalist art work. After seeing what you described in your first PowerPoint, I was surprised that you haven't finished, but have only begun the audio part of the project. With less time to set up the sounds, does this mean that the auditory portion is going to be less important than the video matrix?

  3. @Ian:

    No, the audio portion is not any less important than the video. Not at all. I have much more experience with audio/sound/music than video, so it's taken me much longer to learn how to use Final Cut and a camera than it will to finish the audio. Since I knew that I could be less certain with the results of my amateurish filming than I could be about any of the sounds I'd create, I decided to wait to see the results of the video before finalizing any decisions about the sound. I'm pretty much on track with my original timeline for the project.

  4. After rereading your comment Ian, I thought I should clarify one other thing, too--

    I only showed a very small amount of video (maybe only 5 minutes worth) to the class. I have over 3 hours of video, so...not really a small amount.

  5. The footage of the cloud of birds and the electrical outlet were magic. The top of the head too when layered. Not sure about the cropped into camcorder? It didn't have that feeling of the infinite like I Am Sitting in A Room...and the aforementioned clips...