The Video Mix Tapes series began during Covid to provide a space for local artists to share work with each other in real life. Featuring recent experiments, finished pieces and collaborations by local film and sound artists, these collections originally screened in the Ministry of Casual Living parking lot in fall 2020 & 2021.
Image: "Psychic Secret" (2020) Dir. by Emma Thais Holland & Jameel Mulani, Music by Deadmalls
PROGRAM A: VIDEO MIX TAPES II
Horse Milk Collage – Dir. by Tyler Witzel (Fall 2020)
This is a collage of footage mostly consisting of experiments and animation tests for bigger projects. I’ve used watermarked stock footage and found images as backgrounds in certain spots. The nature documentary style footage in the latter portion of the two minutes was filmed on an iphone six with a lens kit about two years ago. All music and sound effects are from a stock website.
Tone Cut – Dir. by Demi London (Fall 2020)
An animation made by xerox. The first image is a photocopy of ‘the air’ and is an original photocopy. The next still is a photocopy of the original photocopy. The third still is a photocopy of the photocopy of the original photocopy. And so on and so on, until the image is completely unremembered, replicating itself to death. It’s essentially nothing transitioning into another form of nothing.
The Sheriff (Part I.) – Dir. by Hugh Goodden (Fall 2020)
The advice you didn’t know you needed. Got questions? Get answers, from an unlicensed and unaccredited semi-professional. Address all calls to “The Sheriff” 647-937-0455
Untitled – Dir. by Casey Wei (Fall 2020)
Part of “A Shot is a Stanza: 23 Video Poems 2020.” Agony Klub invited 23 cultural practitioners to contribute a one minute video poem, using their phones as an entry point. The full collection will be presented online Oct. 16 by Video Out and the Pleasure Dome as part of NEW VANVOUVER WORKS + NEW TORONTO WORKS pdome.org | agonyklub.com
Sound Scene – Dir. by Ida Maidstone (Summer 2019)
The piece is an exploration of the magic of sound to colour synesthesia. Shot in St. John’s Nfld, the artist created a sonic picnic and got to know her new back yard next to the roaring Atlantic.
Sleeping – Dir. by Natasha Lavdovsky (Summer 2020)
Skulls – Dir. by Jordan King (Summer 2020)
Ora Cogan’s latest album Bells in the Ruins was released during Covid. Unable to tour she had to find other ways to share her music with the world, including collaborating with a number of local artists to make videos for her songs. Here are two of them. More can be viewed at oracogan.com
Enn modeuz – Dir. by Audie Murray (Fall 2020)
Working with our hands is research. It is understanding old ways of knowing. This film features family.Their hands are present both physically and through their art. “Enn modeuz” includes skin stitching, harvesting quills, and sewing. All of these are in relation to adornment and by extension, our bodies. To wear these hand stitched items is to wear our identities. In times where the hand made is overlooked and traditions are seen as forgotten, taking the time to connect with our customs is a part of our revival.
Selfless – Dir. by Keenan Mittag-Degala (Spring 2018)
Additional filming & assistance by Kiefer Aland.
Textural Organization Demonstration – Dir. by Alek Green (Fall 2020)
Video documentation of a performance, exploring a tool for sonic textural organization and contemplation, captured with homemade contact microphones on an icy Atlantic morning.
Come For Me – Dir. by Jason Lei (Fall 2020)
Filmed on high-contrast 16mm b/w film. Hand processed in a bucket. Shot at the Mount Royal Cemetery in Montreal, 2020.
Lamenting Shadow – Dir. by Crystal Dorval (Fall 2020)
“Lamenting Shadow” is from the debut album Dark Night Of The Soul by Uilos. It is an exploration of the shadow self and a meditation on embracing the darkness in life as a necessity to healing, integration and transcendence.
Psychic Secret – Dir. by Emma Thais Holland & Jameel Mulani (Fall 2020)
Music by Deadmalls (Kees Dekker and Aimée van Drimmelen)
As a soft voice guides you, trance-like visions appear, rich in saturation and lush tropical hues.
La la la strings – Dir. by Emma Thais Holland & Jameel Mulani (Fall 2020)
Music by Deadmalls (Kees Dekker and Aimée van Drimmelen)
Mesmerizing, morphing and uplifting—a video and soundtrack for human times.
VIDEO MIX TAPES III
This collection features seven experimental shorts created collaboratively over the course of two months (Feb-April 2021) by randomly paired film and sound artists who hadn't previously worked together before.
“Trailer” – Visuals & design by Ksenia Kil (Nanaimo), Sounds by Kees Dekker (Victoria), Animation assistance by Aimée van Drimmelen
A hand-made shelf of clay features delicate typography made from bread letters that spell out the title of the series. Ksenia: "The piece is inspired by icon holders found in most Russian households, and the Sergei Parajanov movie 'Legend of Suram Fortress' where people live in the caves that are very beautifully carved in the mountain landscape."
“Untitled” – visuals by Alek Green (Halifax), Sounds by
Kostyantyn Iakymov-Buzadzhi & Ksenia Kil (Victoria)
This dreamy coast-to-coast collaborative short explores machine imagination and synthesis of language.
Alek: I used a few different programs to get the imagery, the first was a GAN model in the program Runway that converted text to images. The model is meant to build landscapes for the most part but it is fun to challenge it and feed it words like “party”/ “angel”/ “windsock” as it comes up with pretty interesting results, all with varying degrees of success. I fed the final images (of which there were about 130) into another AI program called ArtBreeder which edited the original images heavily, forcing them to look more like a “landscape” and auto animated them.
Kostyantyn: For the soundtrack itself we used tape dictaphone, vargan and fm-synthesized bass line. We experimented with several rhythmic patterns and sounds (including voice). It’s difficult to find like-minded people who are open for collaboration or willing to keep the project going until the end during these covid times, so it was really refreshing for us to work on something like that.
“DITHERING” – Visuals by Demi London & Andrew Hildreth
(Victoria), Sounds by Fizzy (Nanaimo)
Static representations of space are slightly agitated by discrete elements, dropping the viewer into a limit cycle of correlated signals. Stripped of explicit narrative, patterns coalesce around cyclical error, where error is the impulse towards meaning-making. Dithering renders entropic processes visible via the introduction of novelty. A haunting by design, occupancy from a distance; receptor as digital squatter.
“SPINNER” – Visuals by Sierra Ritch (Victoria), Sounds by Keenan Mittag-Degala (Victoria)
Shot on high contrast, black and white 16mm film and hand-processed, SPINNER features a trickster figure, who may or may not be behind the wheel of what’s to come. Upon reaching a chaotic high point, it’s unclear what should be taken seriously and/or ‘who’ or ‘what’ is in control.
Sierra: The idea for this film stemmed from a discussion we’d had about what feelings and imagery have been on our minds as of late. Most notably, we both shared a sense that life had been growing more intense and unstable, both globally and personally. We tossed around the symbolism of the Wheel of Fortune and The Tower and their relationship to each other. Those ideas, plus considerations of the act of crying and its significance in releasing pent-up, overwhelming energy led us to attempt depicting something that slowly builds into a frenzy and then melts.”
Keenan: The music is an improvisation performed on a fake piano, which was fed through effects and recorded to a shambly reel-to-reel. I wanted to match the archaic visual production methods used by Sierra with a sound that replicated that of a decaying early 20th-century music recording.
“FOCUS” – Visuals by Aimée van Drimmelen (Victoria), Sounds by Jeffrey Ellom (Victoria)
FOCUS explores the concept of stereoscopy, a technique for creating or enhancing the illusion of depth in an image or sound. “Illusion of depth” becomes a metaphor about the experience of trying to escape to nature, but never being able to fully disconnect from the realities we are trying to leave behind... Until you find a portal that takes you to another dimension.
Aimée: The animation techniques used in this piece are illusions. Home made inks are the base for most of what you see, and simple ways of capturing or creating motion and animated glitches amount to a scanner, a cell phone and human breath.
Jeffrey: For the sound I used a lot more automation than normal, really treating the piece like a composition and planning out all the changes in the things that give sound a sense of space—reverb, echo, harmonic resonance. This project also got me playing with audio spectrally, breaking a sound source down to its frequency spectrum information, and then smearing and manipulating it. It was really fun!
“THE DIVINE SPARK OF SOPHIA” – Visuals by Dave Biddle (Vancouver), Sounds by Ida Maidstone (Nanaimo)
Based on a cryptic origin myth, this 360 degree film illustrates “Sophia’s” interior world and creative journey, while the surroundings reveal another timeline and discontinuity of events.
Dave: I wrote a short story in the style of a cryptic origin myth that I based on the metaphysical framework of Gnosticism. Ida’s reading of the story and soundtrack totally transformed the tone into something superficially quite playful, like a kids’ story but with a strange dark undertone permeating it. I really liked the juxtaposition between the lightness of her reading and the harshness of the charcoal animation that I was working on to go with it.
Ida: When I first narrated the text I immediately pictured the story as an animation. All the flourishes came into the piece once I saw the video and was able to visually and sonically explore the textures of Dave’s interior space. Dave kind of became Sophia to me, as the story is about the process of creating something.
“Teardown” – Visuals by Jason Lei, Sounds by Kees Dekker
Filmed on 16mm on a spontaneous trip across Canada in summer 2020, and colour self-processed, TEARDOWN conjures the cinematic-hypnotic film work of Stan Brakhage overlaid with 90s post rock drones reminiscent of Bowery Electric.
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“Lavoro Macchinine” – Visuals by Alexis Hildreth (Victoria), Sounds by Ora Cogan (Victoria)
(Lavoro Macchinine) is a collaborative moving image and sound work that deconstructs the opening credits and reimagines the musical overture in the title sequence from the Italian period drama “Il Gattopardo” (1963).
Lavoro Macchinine occults the film’s original static text with a mercurial, kinetic typography, built from the very glyphs it is at pains to obfuscate. Through gestation, approximation, replication, and assimilation; Lavoro Macchinine discovers its own alien properties of form and behaviour, while simultaneously exploring the boundaries of its cinematic environment.
Image and sound are equally causal, each giving rise to the other. Hearken scores of shapeless fragments vying to take form, fledgling symbols struggling to root out (and into) meaning: multiplying shards, cries from manticores, hawks, cicadas; all of them floating in the air, painted on nesting dolls, on infinite new realities. Internalize and evaporate.
The Ministry of Casual living is located on the unceded territories of the Lekwungen-speaking peoples, now known as the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations. We are grateful to live and work on these lands, and acknowledge our privilege of being able to exist here as artists striving to be allies.
Film + Sound is a series of spontaneously programmed film and music nights that feature avant garde and experimental works by international and local directors, hidden gems from the archives, and live score by local musicians. For more info or to get involved email: [email protected]