DVD Review : Transiterations by Ian Andrews

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Another disc launches out of the demux audiovisual label, this one the collated efforts of Ian Andrews, long-time Sydneysider sonic manipulator / video perculator.

Twentieth Century Warehouses
Aside from the factories filled with people making / printing Kurt Cobain tshirts, Sydneyside warehouses in the nineties were often filled on weekends with Pink Floyd scale light and sound systems and thousands seeking to lose themself in that sensory overload. Glancing back at a catalog of flyers for these, and many events of a more intimate and experimental scale, Ian Andrews can be found under many guises :
on the video front, he was part of the seminal Video Subvertigo act with John Jacobs and Marco Fante ( whose video rigs were in spectacle in themselves, a literal truckload of electronics improbably clustered in the corner of a space for one night only ), working the speakers, Ian has been known alternately as Hypnoblob ( frenzied drum ‘n bass ), Disco Stu, Dormative Hypothesis, and The Horse He’s Sick.

Plus One
Fast forwarding to the current millenium, Ian’s purchase of a small 3 chip DV camera in 2005 delivered him the ability to capture banal events in everyday life, at quite reasonable quality – something he sought to exploit with a series of what he prefers to call ‘video field recordings’ rather than film shoots. By locking a shot off and having no camera panning or zooming, whatever comes into frame, whatever sound happens at the time, is in a sense, Ian argues, found. Having settled on a range of formal rules to limit what he may find, and using no additional music or sound effects, Ian gathered his found footage and pursued the challenge of wading through this material, editing it according to sound and image qualities, then arranging and repeating it in rhythms. ( hence Transiterations – iterative capture and cutting of sound and images in transit. )

Leaving the DVD on in the background, the sounds drift over you… levels and tones ebb and flow, occasionally cutting in and out in more jolting fashion, with an overall effect akin to rain on a roof, or rain on the windscreen of a car halfway between two distant towns on a country road, a long country road, mostly straight, with only the slightest of bends to challenge your desire to sleep. Which is to say, given only recorded location sounds have been used, some nicely choreographed ambience flows over time.

Visually, the DVD sticks to its rules, displaying a range of banal everyday moments, each of the dozen clips exploring a few simple visual editing techniques over time. “A collection of fragments, manipulated field recordings, gradual transformations, and banal repetitions” – isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea no matter how well edited, but to his credit Ian manages to coax compelling moments out of his micro-slices of Sydney life, slowly working through a range of editing ideas, the repetitive explorations building a cumulative impact over time, the gentle visual hypnotism reinforced by the swelling sounds.

Favourite clips include waterlevels – shot in harbour, perhaps from something bobbing in the waves, then letting camera panning vertically to emphasise the water’s rise and fall, then playful extending that when the camera approaches the sky, another view of the sky pushing the original image down the screen, and when the camera pans back down to the water, this image is pushed upwards, by other footage shot of the water. Simple, but nicely executed. Platform 2 allows draws on harbour footage, splitting the screen vertically three times to present views of the Sydney harbour bridge in the distance from Circular Quay train station, being interrupted by fast moving trains, allowing nice layers of edited rhythms to emerge. The bells uses silence and black nicely to build rhythms and pedagogy repeats a loop which is probably only one second long, but retains interest by continuing to compose and crop it in various ways, jumping between these in ever more complex patterns over time.

(( see also, previous demux reviews : Wade Marynowsky – Interpretative Dance, Peter Newman – Paperhouse ))

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  1. […] (skynoise.net) Another disc launches out of the demux audiovisual label, this one the collated efforts of Ian Andrews, long-time Sydneysider sonic manipulator / video perculator… […]

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