Category Archives: Films

Folia, Collaboration with Rachel Strickland

Calculating how short-length cinema might set about to examine the experience of a tree that plays out in year-long cycles, this 24-minute study experiments with polylinear construction and polytemporal scaling of sound and image that were recorded during one 24-hour slice of street life in the span of a city block. 8K video (7680×4320) with 5.1 mix has been downsized to HD (1920×1080) with LtRt audio for this preview.

THE SOCIAL LIVES OF URBAN TREES is work-in-progress name for an experimental video project that merges environmental sensing with observational cinema techniques—inventing a cinéma vérité approach that takes cues from revelations that emerge from ongoing data capture. A series of video portraits of San Francisco street trees will explore the forms and qualities of public spaces created by individual trees, while using small programmable cameras and sensory apparatus to visualize and listen to the trees’ own perspectives regarding their environments and various other inhabitants with whom they share the territory.

https://vimeo.com/169625954

In the course of the project, techniques were devised to capture and present actual synchronized production sound for time-lapse visuals. This is most clearly audible at the beginning and at the tail end of this video. It was discovered that multiple-timescale audio of particular events made the presentation more accessible. An example is the car-departure between 2:00 and 2:10. Actual production sound of this moment was placed into the edit at different timescales, and edited to produce an impression of “time-compressed car departure” whereas the actual 60x timecompression sounded more like a clik.

While it began as a piece about the trees specifically, during the audio editing and mixing process, which ultimately included several additional field sound gathering sessions to the location, it became a kind of study of the soundscape of this particular intersection: 24th and Folsom Streets in San Francisco’s Mission District.

You could listen without watching… I won’t tell.

DeFused Ad no.2

Digital Video, Stereo sound, 2002

DeFused Ads are short abstract films which use television commercials  as their sole source material, transforming them from commercial messages into meaningless things of beauty.

Defused Ad no.2 is made from a TV ad for an indy 500 style racetrack. The hard-hitting voiceover is now a drifting chitter, and the screaming racecars are now soft colored blurs.

The technique involves “averaging” the texture, color and tone of the original material into luminous drifting masses. The original fast-cut promotional message is transformed into a slow-time mode. No edits were made, the processing simply acting as a lens to distort time and space.

DeFused Ad no.1

Digital Video, Stereo sound, 2002

DeFused Ads are short abstract films which use television commercials  as their sole source material, transforming them from commercial messages into meaningless things of beauty.

DeFused Ad No.1 is a luminous, ambient electronic landscape made from an interstitial cable-TV promo.

The technique involves “averaging” the texture, color and tone of the original material into luminous drifting masses. The original fast-cut promotional message is transformed into a slow-time mode. No edits were made, the processing simply acting as a lens to distort time and space.

The Story

In 1996, I met a student in Ontario who grew up in East Berlin. The cold war being such a looming reality in my youth, I’d always wondered about life on the Soviet side of the iron curtain. “Did you get western TV in East Berlin?”  I asked her. The answer was yes, of course, but it was the next part that threw me. “Oh!  The commercials! – they were so beautiful.  I just wanted to live inside the worlds of them.”

At the time, my job was working in a recording studio in Denver which did a lot of commercials. I myself was engaged in the craft of perfecting these short mass-media messages intended to incite an audience to partake in commercial transactions. I started to think about how, in a way, television ads are some of the high-art of our civilization: the most refined, concentrated, compelling experiences that can be created in sound and light.

Eventually the obvious connection was made: to absolve these messages of their meaning, rendering them objects of pure beauty.