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  • Writer's pictureRitchard Allaway

21/10/21 - South with Koner

Reflecting on my conversation with Monty and my previous blog (South) I decided to experiment and play with placing a new sound over imagery, in this case, moving imagery. My project after all is about enhancing/altering the human sensory experience through mixed forms of material usage. I initially set out to develop my current material practice of examining in further detail the use of artificial light and space, but after being assigned a musical professor, it was obvious sound was going to become a new material addition. With this in mind, I have begun the initial steps of experimenting with mixing these three materials together.

I remember a supervisory conversation with Gareth about how we recommended I watch ‘South’ and how an artist had replaced the soundtrack. Unfortunately, that artist interpretation was a one off and documentation of the work seems to be near impossible to come by. I therefore took it upon myself to recreate that concept within my own realms. I did not set out to copy, just to clarify, I wanted to try recreating this concept so that I could grasp what Gareth and Monty meant by mixing visual stimuli with sounds that weren’t designed for such visual outcomes.

South’, as previously stated within an earlier blog post, was a film with a jolly, stereotypical 1920’s soundtrack, bouncy and poppy with an emphasis on courage and danger. For me, it sat right in the context of the year of production but when listened to one hundred and seven years later, it resonated a somewhat comical feel. Therefore, with my investigation into Thomas Koner’s imagined geographical soundscapes, I decided that it was only fitting to place Koner’s ‘Daikan’ over the top of the film. This choice of a soundtrack would be a stark contrast from the jolliness of the original, instead it would resonate a truer account of the harsh realities of the Shackleton expedition.

I must also state that I did not cut and edit the film and music to make some beautifully finished and presented mash up, no, this experiment was simply me putting the ‘South’ DVD into my XBOX and then pressing mute on the TV remote, whilst then playing out from my MACBook speakers ‘Daikan’. A simple experiment to investigate and find out how sound and film together could enhance the sensory experience. To help for you to gain a better understanding of my experiment, I have placed a short clip below to be played.

- Watch experiment before continuing to read this blog -

For me, this experiment really did enhance the expedition film. I felt that Koner’s ‘Daikan’ projected two forms of sound stimuli to accompany the film. The first being the deep harrowing sounds that in turn resonated the struggle and challenge the expeditionary team suffered. The ghost like and bass sounds mixed with the visual imagery encapsulated a morbid and horrifying tale, somewhat more enhanced by the ship’s seizure within the pack ice at night and also with the pink/purple saturation of the film at times. The second form of sound to stimuli was something that I believed refined the texture of the landscape and density of the wilderness. With the stretching and elongation of bass notes it gave premise to the idea that a parallel occurred between the journeys linear time of events and the journey through the material landscape. What I am trying to discuss is that the force of the ship’s movement (or force even when embedded in pack ice) can be felt through the long hum and gradual incline of sound. There is a clear tension between two forces, physical and sound.

How then does one take on board this experiment and use it further within my project? My plan is to visit Uni and borrow some sound equipment. A microphone or something on those lines… although I had a good deal of experience with sound equipment back in my band days over a decade ago, I can say that, that technological knowledge has all but gone. I will however, seek advice on how to operate the equipment I borrow, but I will use it to record forms of sound, what that sound is I am not sure, but place it over my work.

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