Shrinking of the gaze and the drawing in of the focus.
An interesting thing to potentially look into is the use of solo instrument as a tool to focalize character. So there is an article I'm having trouble tracking down titled
Solo Instruments and Internal Focalization in Dario Marianelli’s Pride & Prejudice and Atonement hopefully I will get hold of this soon. The abstract discusses Gerard Genette's Literary theory on Internal Focalization i.e. where the narrator presents information from the point of view of the character. So the article looks at the role that solo instruments play in Marianelli's scores for Pride and Prejudice and Atonement. In the middle of talking with library about how I'm going to get hold of it. Ultimately I don't think this is necessarily an area that I want to engage with too much as it seems a little more in the realm of Leitmotif. Thinking about all of my Single instrument films I don't really see that there is a major Leitmotivic aspect to the score; it's more a device that functions in a more non-specific and abstract manner. I'm thinking of it more in the William Kentridge manner; like a filter over the film. Perhaps a good comparison would be the use of a lot of closeup photography in a film rather than the wide shot. For example potentially the zither in the Third man is the inner voice of Harry Lime but it is also functioning as something to represent the streets of Vienna. It is a pulling in of focus across the film as a whole. Creates a sense of constant circling around a subject perhaps a bit like the video essay as a form. There is something relentless about these films, in the best sense I think! The film challenges the viewer to keep re-engaging. Words I'm thinking of are reflective, melancholic, memory, circling, enclosure, claustrophobic, unrelenting etc
So a seismic shift has occurred since the last blog post; i am now working on exploring the relationship between the single instrument score and the portrayal of an (isolated) protagonist. The 'isolated' part I'm not sure totally fits with what I'm wanting/needing to say, need to think further on this....
The key films I'm currently referencing are:
There are bound to be others but that is plenty to deal with for the time being.
We have Harry Lime, William Blake, Riggan Thompson etc
Had a meeting with Martin who had a good look at the Eric clip I'm working on with Tim...suggested the need to let the image breathe in this...leave spaces for the viewer to engage with the images. I have made a start with this and I reckon this feels like a bit of a breakthrough...have sent the clip for Tim to check out, he seems v positive. Will continue with this approach.
Need to track down this book.....doesn't seem to be in the library....
Starting to look at some of Sally Potter's work at http://sallypotter.com/films
Have Orlando cued up to watch tonight. Supposedly a good example of some sort of GKW...
have really enjoyed compiling lists of films that I've seen (and am interested in seeing) via the Letterboxd site https://letterboxd.com/olliemiller/films/
i found this interesting link https://filmschoolrejects.com/culture-warrior-the-gesamtkuntswerk-b5273e96d452/
I would argue that opera is possibly a more useful model to evaluate much hollywood blockbuster style entertainment than say seeing it through the lens of a classic hollywood style i.e. films are nowadays driven by a need to have a multimedia spectacle, something that thrills the emotions and affects. Films like Sicario and Under the Skin operate less as dialogue/narrative driven works. Palmer who wrote the above article singles out Limits of control as an example of a Gesamptkunstwerk that doesn't really succeed- I would put forward another Jarmusch film Only lovers left alive as a better example. I like Palmers' words below...I think the cinematic gesamtkunstwerk is rare, but real nonetheless. It takes a skilled filmmaker and the right material, but sometimes a film comes along that integrates many other works of art into a single film in a way that doesn’t go directly against it being also strongly cinematic, instead employing this ambitious practice seamlessly into what the film at large is trying to achieve. When it happens, the result can be spectacular." Sounds promising !!
Fascinated by Japanese Noh Theatre......masks, gestures and choreography....ritualistic approach channelled by Matsumoto in Atman below....
It's very early days for this project, but thought I'd piece together a bit of a tone reel using images from Imogen paired with an existing piece of mine......
One of the really important things I have started developing with Re-music-ed is some sort of workflow: it really is a pretty complex and daunting process having to think and deal with video files and audio files at the same time. Ending up with loads of video fragments all labelled as well as audio files modified into tiny subfiles and fragments....Premiere works great with this (bins!)however Protools is very unwieldy with no folder structure! Anyway the whole thing is a bit fraught but I think I'm starting to get my head around it all....
I have included below some of my diary notes about this process- definitely not essential reading....
Sunday 7th May
Friday 12th May
I'm thinking pretty strongly now that I do want to develop my own short film for my main project however I definitely want to submit this in conjunction with more standard collaborative work with directors. For a while I wasn't so sure whether to go with my own short film that is quite abstract and experimental or more of a conventional presentation of narrative- now this seems pretty clear I think. However, I don't necessarily want to go somewhere totally abstract and I do love things to find that sweet spot of being comfortable and approachable yet layered into something with abstraction and depth. A great example of this for me is Barry Jenkin's short My Josephine. So many layers in this....I don't just want to develop as just an Experimental film maker per se, I see this work as a way of leading into developing an approach with music that is expressive and meaningful, extending the possibility of what music can bring to conventional film narrative.
Imagine (literally) looking through someones eyes....the eyes are shut and there is veiled flickering and flare behind the closed eyes....gradually a musical thread of sound builds like a glowing filter across the image until it reaches a kind of bursting point. The eyes flash open and brilliant white shines for a second in silence then a tumult of images working with an intense rush of distorted sounds floods the senses. Very William Blake....extending on the little bit of video exploration The NOISE (my quartet) explored with Georges Lentz and Andrew Wholley. This work now titled String Quartet(s) was never composed with a visual element in mind however we were playing with some film ideas for one of our performances at Cockatoo Island that had potential. Like so many things that are strongly musical that are then appended with film, or film that is laced with music, you can actually get something that is weaker after adding the extra element.....if it wasn't designed with a musical or visual layer than maybe best to leave it alone???? Becomes a bit neither here nor there..... This is something I'm really keen to avoid!
I found this really interesting article on Brakhage by Fred Camper "The montage of Dog Star Man (1961–64), which juxtaposes its characters, principally Brakhage himself, with imagery of blood vessels and the sun, the forest and the stars, family and architecture, and explicitly erotic imagery, evokes numerous associations, from the banal to the sublime. Layers of faces and rocks and paint on film combine in multiple superimpositions, ultimately building to a meditation on one man’s place in the cosmos that can also be read, apart from its hint of a plot, as a light-poem."
I had this idea of making a portrait in film of a person. Was watching Anh Do on SBS paint a portrait of Anthony Field from the Wiggles.....thinking that you could do something like that in more of an abstract way using a film study: extreme closeups, chopped up editing, playing with direction and time, sounds of breathing and heartbeat interweaved with a musical thread - the whole thing takes you on a kind of journey into the spirit of the person. Real Bergmanesque intensity. An idea to possibly develop next semester or over the break if I get time.
After spending the last 7 years or so working on approaches to improvisation in my various ensembles, this improv workshop was a really great opportunity to be on the other side of the studio window. Frustrating in some ways not to be able to directly go for what I was after in a musical way, but to try and verbally direct and get what I needed from the situation felt unusual! I know what it feels like when someone is trying to get you to do something that you don't really grasp, particularly when the clock is ticking away....a very cool project and was really happy with the result. Ended up getting one main 6 minute piece which was very close to my initial intentions, I also had some fun developing a more synth pop thing over one of the grooves....just for fun really, but I do like it! I thought it was kind of cool to record the free improv sections at the end of the session and then for the recording place that at the front- the players are all then in the zone of the sound world and they can't help but to continue on in that vein. Place that at the front of the tune it really feels like that leads properly into the song....
This 3rd musical example is the midi mockup of the tune that I did a little while ago....
[the music] works as another layer of complex texturing applied to the surface of the film, so often it is not clear what sound is coming from the objects in the film and what has been added as music. It creates a world that is so often dreamlike and abstract- the non-literalness of the music makes it easier for the viewer to sink into the dream-like nature of this sci-fi world.
This clip (score detailed below) is a highly sophisticated blend of sound and music, diogenic material, and musical cultural referencing that clearly demonstrates a distinct blurring between the lines of sound, music and filmic narrative. I wrote up the score to demonstrate to myself how all of the aspects of film can be reduced to something that is ultimately musical.
Further testing and experimenting for major work.....exploring synthesis of sound image music. This film is about childhood, memory, internal states of being and the sublime. The music is improvised cello and electronic and the imagery is from my iPhone and Nikon D800E.
Exploring some visual/aural ideas for Final project.....I used some old footage of water I took in the Blue Mountains as well as a music clip from Moths by my string quartet The NOISE.
On the 13th March I booked recording studio 2 with fellow student Allister in order to get our head around the recording studio setup and pro tools. We decided to place a series of different microphones at various places around the studio and had some fun playing around with some basic prepared piano ideas i.e. putting bits of metal on the strings, hand dampening and finger plucking. With this recording I constructed a piece within pro tools that utilises sonic manipulations like reverse, speed changes, filtering, reverbs and delays. I have recently placed a series of photos I took in 2015 out near Bathurst NSW with this music and it is kind of effective. Feels a bit Picnic at Hanging rock. Spooky and mysterious without being overtly creepy-something that Weir does so effectively , a mood that doesn't spell itself out to you. As opposed to that sort of Lynchian energy that twists things around so much more disturbingly.....with Tarkovsky you get that subtle reframing of the normal that just goes deeper and deeper into somewhere transcendent.....the views of the forest and fields in Mirror for instance. The music in this landscape exercise helps to create sense of distance and strangeness....if I get a chance I would like to come back and edit this clip in a stronger way
Plenty of notes here below.....to be more brief!- I'm developing Re-music-ed to be part of an Ensemble Offspring concert coming up and fitted very well into our Zeitgeist assignment in class- being Zeitgeisty for this work was definitely the whole idea. Here are a few of the key ideas so far:
• So what is the theme of this work? Fracturing of time and place. An event like a performance
is no longer a singularity or a point of singular focus, of concentration. It is clearly fractured timewise,
hiphop , the Get down. Mash up
• Surrealism and Fellini, Kubrick The Shining
• In a broad sense time is the theme.
• Christian Marclay The Clock
• Doco on Channel Criswell Tarkovsky Poetic Harmony- excellent ideas on editing/long take/
sound/texture on Time! The tension of time, the pressure of time!
• Documentation is like a disruption in the sequence of time. everyone photographing/filming on their phones is kind of like a future. A mashup of this event is like a fragmentation of time, a deconstruction and re-construction. All art is a re-manufacturing or repurposing of pre-existing material/ideas. Stravinksy! Montage, Soviet cinema, Italian neorealism, collage, Fracturing/ splitting, filmic collage…Brakhage
• Great article by Grauer on Brakhage and the theory of montage essay bookmarked and book available online also bookmarked.
• Wees and Montage bookmarked pdf
• In reader Stadler article on reality and realism…
• Godard!! Histoire de Cinema
• Bookmarked montage godard articles…..the use of black space in film, the nothing of silence
visual and audible
• Forming a new reality out of fragmented pieces
• the audience becomes part of the performance=selfie culture- we want to see ourselves
reflected back in our art
• Deleuze on Godard bookmarked -the end of narrative cinema
• Tarkovsky has his long shots, the viewer needs time the pressure of time to digest the
images properly. I imagine that you could say that it doesn’t have to be the long shot. The
frame followed be silence , has a big impact. the viewer is responsible for taking the glimpse of the rapid moment and digests it in the imagination. Therefore potentially just as emotive as a long shot?
• Tarkovsky says that music subverts the intention inherent in the image…..
• Other ideas about the project: the faithfulness of the digital image, is another layer of
illusion. There is an inherent quality and texture the medium as there is in film or tape. The
work seeks to explore this texture. Embracing the colours/pixiallation, what it is that is
actually there rather than restyling them to form something else. Vive la difference. Embrace the reality/ naturalism/ authenticity.
• Fallability of the digital frame? What happens when the frame appears on the screen? Is it
actually instantaneous? Or is it a very fast pattern? Could be an artefact of the process??
• Webern’s micro pieces, gestures, flickerings, 2nd Viennese school. etc
• Webern 4 small pieces for Cello and piano Massige Achtel- constructing a simple elegant
narrative from a very small number of “events”
• Bill Viola interview youtube Cameras are Soul Keepers. “Emptiness, is a real thing that
exists, the space between all of the physical objects. That’s where we exist , in-between the
empty spaces in reality”.
• Music videos
Kassabian, A. (2008). Inattentive Engagements: The New Problematics of Sound and
Music. Cinema Journal, 48(1), 118-123. doi:10.1353/cj.0.0069
Gadzinski, A. (2010). APPROPRIATED MUSIC - AN ALTERED SYSTEM OF
RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN MUSIC AND IMAGE. New Sound: International Magazine
For Music, (36), 91-100.
“In the editing, we struggled with a constant going back and forth between sound and
image. Technically this is not evident. For our main editing criteria we used energy,
rhythm, pitch and intensity of sound, and, working in differ- ent ‘spaces’ and ‘logics of
spaces’, sometimes we started by editing the image and sometimes with the sound,
which is not the traditional workflow. But we tried to maintain our intentions until the end,
drawing the different ‘spaces’ for the mix, including a variety of relationships between
sound and image.” Huvenne, M. (2010). Towards a radically different understanding of
experience: Looking for an heautonomous auditory field in film. Soundtrack, 3(2),
• access journal “Music sound and the moving image”
• Guide to Reading Deleuze’s Cinema II: The Time-Image, Part I: Towards a Direct
Imaging of Time to Crystal-Images. (2012, September 28). Retrieved May 11, 2017,
• Oeler, K. (2011). POETRY IN CINEMATOGRAPHY. Yearbook Of Comparative
Literature, (57), 167-187.
• The purpose of art is to impart the sensation of things as they are perceived and not as
they are known. The technique of art is to make objects ‘unfamiliar’, to make forms
difficult, to increase the difficulty and length of perception because the process of
perception is an aesthetic end in itself and must be prolonged. Art is a way of
experiencing the artfulness of an object; the object is not important." (Shklovsky, "Art as
• Glenn Gould radio plays
• as part of the developing artwork the performance where this films screening forms part
will be documented itself with the idea to create a further artwork from that. A selfreplicating artwork ;)
• gestures and flickering
• reality tv- people and content just to observe, they want to be part of the action, they
want to see themselves on the screen. They want to be a relevant part of the artistic
process. The spectator wants to be looked at
• The idea of surveillance, and big data, what happens to all of this information floating
around. Reflections and digitised versions of ourselves sitting out there in the world.
• Orwellian- a bit too far!
• John Cage 4’33’’ the audience ends up being the focus for the production of sound, as
well as forced to listen to the themselves.
• Andy Warhol??
• what ideas of conventional narrative can be overlaid upon this film? We have the couple
in conversation, clear boy ”girl thing going” on in a very abstract way.
• consider why I have brought in those photos from mittagong?
• Possibly included photos from the streets of Darlo? Could be a more relevant thing??
The work we did developing our creative statement was actually pretty rewarding for me: thinking about my childhood and the sort of stuff I was into in a big way- it was really world-building, constructing dioramas, tree-houses, battle-fields, exploration, entomology, taxidermy, making my own armour and weird medieval shoes....kind of no wonder really that I have ended up digging around in film!
Define your values
Identify a time when you were most happy, what and how:
Making tree houses when I was a kid, climbing the trees, working with the different branches and materials, coming up with something that fitted the tree got me the best vantage point and most comfortable. Working with friends to build something…..also on a similar note: we had this vacant block up the road from where I lived and every afternoon I would a big bunch of my friends and we had pitched battles in the long grass. We would dig fortifications, holes under the ground and tunnels. We would divide up into different groups and fight each other with clay that we would dig up. It was actually pretty dangerous looking back, part of the thrill and excitement.
When were you most proud, and who and what factors:
While at ANU school of music I worked really hard at my cello playing, 6 or 7 hours a day for a good 12 months, start at 7am attend classes and then work into the night. I was working towards an audition for the Australian Youth Orchestra. Ended up blitzing the audition and was selected as principal cello, toured Europe attended various academies. It seemed to be my purpose in life and I felt really good about it. Growing up in a really strong classical music background this was really everything and more then I could have imagined in terms of success at this stage. Looking back I seem like such a different person now.
Identify times you were most fulfilled and satisfied, what need or desire was fulfilled and how and why did the experience give your life meaning.
I’m currently working on an art project with a composer , one of Australia’s best (in my opinion!) this has been a close collaboration over many years that has involved around 40 hours of recording with my string quartet over about 5 years. We are now working with Glenn Murkutt the architect to bring the installation into its final stages of construction. Being part of this passionate and expert team of people, throwing ideas around, exploring something that is really quite a crazy concept with a really epic scale is very fulfilling .
This blog is my process journal for my Master's course at AFTRS