Sometimes my films have adventures without me. Timbre screened at Liverpool Cathedral’s Lady Chapel with a live score by musician Jonathan Hering in a special A/N/D Festival event programmed by the Manchester collective Video Jam.
Electronic Voice Phenomenon is the alleged communication by spirits through electronic devices. When I was asked to contribute a piece to the Pop Montreal special event called Voices From Beyond: The EVP Project, curated by Kier-La Janisse, I spent more than a few hours down the internet rabbit hole of documented EVP cases. I love the one about the apparatus called the Spiricom where the spirit of a deceased physics professor transmits verbal instructions on how to improve the apparatus but then sidetracks into a conversation about carrots and sauerkraut.
For my piece, I decided to do something with an old radio I own which I always thought had some kind of extra-ordinary connection to the past. I discovered the model was from 1949 and imagined it had the power to somehow tap into that year, transmitting fragmented bits of audio-visual feedback from a conversation between two ill-fated lovers. The installation looked something like this:
And the film, with the grace of my go-to source for archival footage, archive.org, went something like this:
Heading to Toronto for the premiere of Derby & Groma at the 2013 Hot Docs Festival. Thank you Dan Popa for the beautiful poster design.
I was quite excited when I heard that there were plans in the works for a day dedicated to Delia Derbyshire and even more excited to be invited to take part. Along with a screening of The Delian Mode, the day included a symposium of guest speakers, a listening session of rare Derbyshire tracks and new commissioned musical works inspired by the DD archives held at the University of Manchester. It was fantastic to see a packed venue of Delia enthusiasts including a few familiar faces who had helped me during the making of my film.
I had some fun live-remixing visuals from my archives to accompany musical performances composed by Ailís Ní Ríain and Caro C, whose piece Audient, my dear is seen here:
After the initial event in Manchester we took the show on the road with stops in Sheffield, Liverpool and Newcastle and it has been confirmed: the UK has a lot of love for Delia. I’m sure she would be tickled pink.
I pride myself on being quite organized in advance of filming, reserving a special place in my brain for logistical details. For the Derby & Groma shoot in Montreal, everything was coming together without a hitch. I had managed to book one of the city’s only authentic 1920’s theatres as a location and had cast the perfect D&G stand-ins; Faye & Bryant Lopez, a dancing duo partially from Buenos Aires who already had their own traditional Argentinian dance costumes! There was however one thing I didn’t see coming: HURRICANE SANDY. Ruining much more than my plans, Sandy touched down in New York preventing our director of photography, Lee Towndrow, from travelling to Montreal. My dream team bucked up and rescheduled for a few weeks later. We may have lost our original shooting location but, in the wake of a natural disaster, things could have been much worse.
Behind-the-scenes images by Jules de Niverville and final frames by Lee Towndrow. More amazing stills by Lee here.
Filming in Buenos Aires has not been without its challenges but boy, oh, boy, does this place ever make for some pretty pictures. Thanks to fixer Débora Giammarini who opened all sorts of wonderful doors for us.
I had a wonderful experience in Ottawa this weekend at SAW Video. Such a thoughtful programming of my work and warm reception at the screening Friday night, I almost didn’t mind the -40 degree weather. And Saturday’s full house for my class From The Sound Up: Building a Documentary also melted my heart!
Setting up the Traum_a installation at Dokfest Kassel.
It’s always a treat to attend TIFF but I was totally thrilled that my short film Next of Kin took the cake at this year’s RBC Emerging Filmmakers Competition!
When I learned that The Delian Mode had won a prize which entailed a 3 month artist residency in Kassel, Germany, one of my first thoughts was, ‘what the hell am I going to do in a small German town for that long?’ The only thing I knew about Kassel was that it hosts the popular contemporary art expo Documenta, but only every 5 years and sadly not the year I would be there. Given that my assignment was to create a video work based on the location, I decided to get up close and personal with Kassel, exploring it to its outer limits by foot.
90% of Kassel’s city centre was destroyed by bombings in 1943. Much of the current, function-forward architecture is from the 1950’s but a few scattered old gems remain or have been restored (such as the Museum Fridericianum pictured above). I gravitated towards these singular structures and gardens whose stateliness seemed to permeate the town, solidly asserting its history. I spent many hours in the solemn reverence of churches and fragrant presence of cherry blossom trees in full bloom. I scaled rocky terrain to get a closer look at the city’s stone guardian, Hercules, and tip-toed amongst the Old Masters in halls of antiquities. And, over the course of the residency, I developed a real affinity towards Kassel. It is a great luxury to have 3 months to wander around a place and get a feel for it from the ground up; something I should find the time to do in my own city.
more photos of my European adventures here.