A roundtable discussion convened by Leandro Pisano for Soundcamp / Reveil with Alyssa Moxley and David Vélez, all of us having been residents in the Liminaria programme in rural Southern Italy. We were responding to the "Manifesto for Rural Futurism" created by Beatrice Ferrara and Leandro Pisano. I was talking about the film that Chiara Caterina and I made called "Into The Outside".
"Falls Silent. Falls Silent." uses every transcription comment from Svetlana Alexievich's oral history "Chernobyl Prayer". In her book, published in 1997 and translated into English in 2016, the transcription comments are rendered in italics in parentheses and allow the interviewees' words to be read in an emotional context.
The time it takes for all the comments to appear on screen is four minutes and three seconds, which is the interval between Reactor 4 exploding and the fire brigade arriving at the power station, the fire crews fighting to douse the flames without protection. This video was released at 21:23:04 UTC on 25th of April, thirty five years after the explosion whose devastating effects continue.
Text copyright © Svetlana Alexievich, 1997, 2013 Translation copyright © Anna Gunin and Arch Tait, 2016
I used a somewhat similar approach to text on screen was used in one of my films with Chiara Caterina "Il Vertice" and in two films with Rupert Cox, "The Cave Mouth and the Giant Voice" (2015), and "Zawawa" (2018). Some of this approach to captions and subtitles was explored in a 2014 Points of Listening event and had live versions in presentations for the Iklectik launch of Salome Voegelin's "Political Possibility of Sound" (2019) and the OTO night "Animal Sounds" (2019).
When asked by the Outposted Project to respond to the OS map for Brighton and Hove, there was only one place this invitation would take me: my favourite dew pond on the ridge of the South Downs near Ditchling Beacon. I carried some microphones and a camera the five miles from my home to a relative sheltered spot between some gorse bushes in what was one of the windiest days of the year. Originally, I thought I would just record the sound and make an ambient portrait of the hawthorn and the pool of water with its reflection, but things took a different shape: deciding first to write a text and then finding that the process of writing and listening back took me very far away from the runners and dog walkers on the Downs. You can read the text and watch the short film here.
Screening of Rupert Cox, Kozo Hiramatsu and my film, Zawawa at the Salon for Alternative Social Science Strategies at Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations (Mucem), January 10th, 2020.
Durant le bombardement d’Okinawa, en 1945, les habitants ont cherché refuge dans les grottes et les champs de canne à sucre. Ils ont forgé des souvenirs qui habitent aujourd’hui les sons de ces lieux. Un paysagiste, un acousticien et un anthropologue ont travaillé ensemble pendant dix ans pour écouter, enregistrer ces sons et leur donner sens, à travers les récits d’individus qui expriment, comme tant d’autres à Okinawa, l’expérience d’une vie suspendue entre les guerres américaines, le passé, le présent et le futur.
Japanese broadcaster NHK World screened an English-language version of their earlier Japanese-langauge documentary about Rupert Cox's and my collaborative film, "Zawawa." Quite a few excerpts of sound and image from our film were shown alongside some interviews with Rupert and some shots of Okinawans watching the film on its première tour around island community centres. The image below shows our collaborator Professor Kozo Hiramatsu interviewing audiences for their responses to the film.
The 6th edition of the Helicotrema Festival was held in November Venice. CRiSAP were asked to curate a playlist, to which I contributed a text piece that was originally exhibited as part of Daniela Cascella's "Sound Writing 2."
I was also invited to sumbit an additional work for the Festival, having my work played back in dedicated listening sessions alongside some incredible artists.
The sounds that comprise Marshland (Helicotrema Mix) were all recorded on the Dengie Peninsula, an area of tidal mud-flats and salt marshes that lies between the estuaries of the rivers Blackwater and Crouch. Microphones were submerged beneath the rising tide, held above retreating waves, wedged into a decaying wooden watch-tower buffeted by strong winds and lowered through the gun slits of a pill-box, where nesting swifts called to fledglings and flew in and out the Second World War concrete structure’s openings. Though left raw and unprocessed, the sounds have been layered in a series of movements between interiors and exteriors, between what passes over and what happens underneath. This Essex coast once formed part of what archaeologists have named ‘Doggerland,’ a mesolithic land bridge which joined Britain to continental Europe, and the recordings were made during fieldwork for a film project with Chiara Caterina in the weeks before the UK population voted on the referendum to leave the European Union.
“Into The Outside”, a film collaboration between myself and Chiara Caterina, made in Southern Italy as part of the Liminaria Residency programme, has been short-listed for the Swedenborg Film Festival prize. The title of the film echoes a quotation from Georges Bataille - "Here darkness is not the absence of light (of sound) but absorption into the outside” - and announces its exploration of the nocturnal that is also evoked in a blog post I wrote while on the residency: "Night insects draw to my headtorch and to Guiliano’s LED light. Bubbles, scrapes and chinks for my hydrophone trawl; a crab clicks over a flat rock. Water creatures in the depths under the bridge – Raffeale captures their energies in a way I could not. Birdsong strange in the moon’s soft grey; Chiara submerges one camera and aims another to the far shore. Franco talks of the purposes of night. Five foxes on the way home; at the farm, one screams for 10 minutes then – my recorder now on – nientefor the half an hour til I fall asleep standing up”.
The festival is on 26th of November, 2016.
Rupert Cox and my film "Cave Mouth and the Giant Voice" was shown at the film club Inter at Stereo Cafe Bar, Glasgow. Inter bills itself as "INTER- is a new event series presenting experimental sound work for loudspeakers.
“between” “among” “in the midst of” “mutually” “reciprocally” “together” “during”
These nights are about creating a focused, public listening context for deep experiments in / with sound. We aim to support work and practices which might not fit easily into other performance contexts. We hope these events can help to draw together practices across electroacoustic composition, studio production and field-recording (amongst others) and be part of the exchange between sound and music methods taking place across Glasgow, and much further afield…"
'Night Time', the film Chiara Caterina and I made during the Liminaria residency earlier this year - a film which is a prototype for 'Into The Outside' - was shown at an exhibition in the Museo degli Orologi da Torre in San Marco dei Cavoti, Southern Italy. The other artists from the residency were Hong-Kai Wang, Enrico Coniglio and Alejandro Cornejo Monitbeller.
Rupert Cox presenting our film "The Cave Mouth and the Giant Voice" at the Sound Studies: Art, Experience, Politics conference at CRASSH.