Filmmaker Monteith McCollum (Hybrid, DFF23; Milk in the Land: Ballad of an American Drink, DFF30; A Different Path, DFF33) returns to Denver with a live performance work that playfully explores abstract and musical sounds through the use of early recording and communication technologies. The performance moves from the experience of decoding language to the material qualities of the machines of communication and structural music.
The first part incorporates Morse code patterns—a violin, tuning forks and telegraph oscillators—to form a multilayered presentation of musical qualities. The second half involves a transcription of early images of sound vibrations from formats that include optical film tracks and phonographs. These abstract renderings are filmed in ways that represent audio as a form of landscape as well as optical illusion and pattern. In order to incorporate a tactile element, the audience members will receive sound cards, which are opened and closed on cues supplied by the film.
In the end, a lathe cuts a record of the performance itself, and an endoscopic camera captures the image of thin threads of plastic waste spiraling off onto turntables’ center spindles. The sampling from the records and the playback of the cut degenerate into an abstract, layered wall of sound interweaving melody, speech and drone.
Director Monteith McCollum in attendance