Monthly Archives: January 2013

The next film in our series examining the uses of sound and music in film is Vacancy by Paddy Baxter:


Vacancy is a 2 minute horror documentary made last summer as a collaboration with Manchester experimental music collective Tubers Music. The emphasis on assigning a specific genre is relevant both to the reason why this short experimental film was made and to the effect that this music collaboration had on the way we view the images in this piece as an audience.

Vacancy came out of a photo article on the recent phenomenon of ghost developments in Ireland [see article here:] that Huw Wahl and I carried out early last year- the title refers to the current 21% vacancy rate among housing and commercial developments in the Republic of Ireland. The film explores through photos, video and music one of the stranger of these failed housing developments- namely Carrigglas Manor in County Longford- once the site of a beautiful stately aristocratic Manor and grounds, now a place of desolation and a scorched landscape.

As a filmmaker I had the choice to document this space is a neutral or objective manner. However, there is no way to express the sheer awe, dismay, despair, unease and bewilderment that one feels when in such a place as Carrigglas through photos and video alone. Once inside the walls of this gated, abandoned development you feel exposed in a very odd manner, a sense of the sublime and of impending danger immediately overcome you. It is the sense one gets when you watch a particularly effective horror film. This is the feeling that I wanted the film to induce.

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Over the coming 4 weeks, Castles Built in Sand will present a series of short experimental films that seek to explore the relationship between sound, music, video and photography. These films vary in length (from 2 to 20 mins) and cover a range of subject matters from the use of music to examine and define space, place and the journey, to issues around the image and representation in photography. It is our hope that these short films will provoke the viewer to think about the various uses of sound in film, about how the use of music in film affects how we perceive the images presented to us, and how, in terms of representation, the image can become a loaded and problematic construction. Each film will be accompanied by a short text outlining the central concerns of the filmmaker. Up first is Dark Water by Katy and Simon Connor.

Film By Katy Connor

Music by Simon Connor

Dark Water is an audio visual collaboration between myself as a composer and my sister Katy Connor, film maker and video artist . The film was first screened at Dartington College of Arts in 2008 as a video installation, and its original form included no sound. Whilst completing my MA in Composition I asked Katy if I could compose a soundtrack for the piece. I had always been fascinated by its mesmeric quality and saw a real opportunity to explore some of the ideas introduced in the film in terms of the audio accompaniment.
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