Film of Sound

Having forgotten and then remembered why I once started blogging, I am now going to make a sincere effort to keep my own record of things going on.

One of the things going on is that I have a new video work that is out and about, currently awaiting replies from various venues. Film of Sound is a 10 minute video I made with Australian sound artist Roger Dean and writer Hazel Smith, a creative duo and founders of Australysis.

It was performed in Sydney last December (12/10/11) at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music with 4-channel audio and a double-projection screen. The center of the audio space–the sweet spot– was the surface of the screen.

Here are two excerpts.

Film of Sound is a semiotic surface, a skin of image and text on the body of sound. Constructed out of collaborative, indeterminate and remix processes, layers and juxtapositions of disparate media hint at a narrative trajectory — a sleeping man, an evening in a hotel room, and a journey across vast and challenging spaces. But the incipient narrative constantly breaks down into disordered memories of violence and repression, undefined threats, splintered subjectivities, analog and digital glitches.

10 minute, single channel video
Artists: Roger Dean, Will Luers and Hazel Smith
an australLYSIS commission


Electronic art video and interactive works generally prioritize image over sound, this is also the case in commercial culture at large. For this work, we chose a different approach, in keeping with the central focus of the commissioning ensemble, austraLYSIS. That focus is sound : musical, spoken, electroacoustic and environmental. In Film of Sound sound was chosen to be the initiator, sometimes even driver, of the text and visual processes at work in the piece. Three collaborators were involved, respectively with focus on the video composition (Luers), the text composition (Smith) and the sonic composition (Dean). In the first stage of creating the piece, a pair of sound compositions were made by Dean, and Luers and Smith began generating responses to them. After considerable exchange of materials, an overall plan for one imagistic narrative layer, to be constructed first in sound, was agreed. After the drafted sound layer was produced, all the ongoing text- and video- generation processes joined into an iterative amalgamation, interaction, and refinement sequence.

The result reveals at least two continuous narrative and process layers. There are ideas about the continuation of physical objects and processes — such as the life of the ocean — despite the termination of life. These ideas swirl with and against questions of language, the communicative powers of humans, and the resilience of human engagement even when resources and opportunities seemingly diminish.

Through the interweaving of text, sound and image —sometimes complementary, sometimes antithetical — the work explores a number of continua from the pre-verbal to the articulated, from the glimpse to the gaze, from noise to music. It also simultaneously projects both rapidly transforming affective intensities and sustained emotional states.

- Roger Dean, Will Luers and Hazel Smith