Sunday, October 11, 2009

Re : wind

Rather a minor post, this, but (hopefully, marginally) better a little something than a tedious accumulation of nothings. Something more substantial, or at least more pressing, should go up in the next day or two.

Just a little video to share, which I came across during a burst of displacement tidying yesterday. I made it about five or six years ago, I think, and it was pretty much the first video I ever made from scratch -- on Windows Movie Maker, saints preserve us. It was by way of a sort of animated birthday card for my dear friend Rajni, whom many readers will know as a brilliant live artist and activist (and someone I interviewed for this blog a while back).

The visual element is, as you'll see, once it gets going, just a bunch of video tapes being rewound. (There's a bonus point for anyone who can identify all the sources. ...Actually there's one in there that I'm not absolutely sure of myself...) I don't now know why I thought a montage of rewinding video tapes was apt, but, having not seen the thing since I made it, I find I quite like it. For some reason the video capture seems to have been kind of jerky, but I quite like that too. (Actually the most distracting thing here is the level of pixellation necessary to get it to fit the 100MB size limit. The whole thing looks like a Michel Gondry Lego extravaganza.)

But really the impetus for posting this here and now can be located in the audio. I can't be sure of the exact dates but, near enough, pretty much exactly ten years ago today I was making the soundscore for The Consolations, which was the first devised piece I made as a director in London and, I sometimes think, my first truly professional show. (Not that professional, but...) For the soundtrack I taped all of the cast members doing various solo things -- speaking about themselves in character, reading Shakespeare, singing lullabies, etc. -- and these recordings were then threaded through the show, usually layered indecipherably, filtered beyond recognition and/or swathed in noise or music.

For this video I used some extracts from Rajni's improvised lullaby, looped and layered; and, chopped up and chucked around, her improvised monologue in the character of Anna, who was a verrrrr sexy bilingual French-English photographer. (No trace of the influence of Lepage in that mix, then.) In the show her character ended up getting all half-French sexy with a bisexual rock star called Cody, played by Theron Schmidt; the two of them ended up getting married in real life so who says theatre can't change the world?

The music is a similar mix of loops and fragments -- the base sample is, I think, from the Durufle Requiem, though what really works for me is the sound of the guqin being thrown around the stereo field and sounding weirdly bluesy against the super-sumptuous bed of voices and strings and church organ and, eventually, for some reason, jungle critters.

Anyway I'm not making any grand claims for this video -- I saw it again, and kind of liked it, and I thought I'd share it, not least as a way of marking in these pages the tenth anniversary of my first grown-up show as director.

p.s. There are a couple of little glimpses of low-resolution nudity in here so don't click if you're scared of seeing male genitalia as if rendered on a Commodore VIC-20.


kier said...

oh i think it's a beautiful video chris, i'm a fan. i forgot to pay attention to the films so i just caught singing in the rain, lion king and some muppets. some incredible photos on rajni's site. (i'm mailing you today) xxx

kier said...

okay, that was an unintentional lie. i worked too long on what i was working on, and now i'm drop dead gone. i will mail you tomorrow, but my answer is of course: yes, a thousand times yes. see you.