Archive

Essays

The last film in our series is Glass Parade by Insa Langhorst, a 14-minute video about Taybeh, the only brewery in Palestine, with a soundtrack by the Levenshulme Bicycle Orchestra.

Glass Parade is a “spontaneous” piece of work in almost all its aspects. It is a reaction to the environment it is set in and experiments with the impact of sound over visuals. Through the combination of visuals and non-diegetic sound it aims to transcend the literal meaning of the visuals, and allows different denotations to be created.

The video is set in Taybeh, the only brewery in Palestine. Taybeh, named after the Christian Palestinian village it is located in, is a family business, which was established in 1994 after the Oslo Peace agreements. The founders David and Nadim Khoury had lived in the USA until then and returned in the hope that the agreements would enable Palestinians to live and work more freely.
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The third film in our series is by Huw Wahl, and examines the use of photography in the Israel/Palestine conflict, it’s called Negotiating Representation in Israel and Palestine:

The Israel-Palestine conflict is one of the most infamous in the world, continually visited by foreign journalists wishing to gain a new angle on the situation there. But what of the photographers living and working in the region; how do they negotiate the issues of victimhood, narrative, representation and the problematic nature of image-making in an area that supplies the world with thousands of photographs and videos every day?

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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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Ghosts and the Machine:

A Wander through the New Wastelands of Ireland.

 

This piece is the first in a series of essays and audio/visual journeys through the changing landscapes of Ireland. Over the last 20 years Ireland has experienced a period of rapid economic development followed by a sharp fiscal decline. The boom and bust of the Celtic Tiger to PIIG status has had a dramatic and highly destructive effect on the physical geography of the country, radically altering the highways and byways of the land. One of the most visible side effects has been proliferation of unfinished and unoccupied housing estates, commonly referred to as ‘ghost estates’, strange concrete wastelands and ruins that plague the terrain of every county in Ireland.

The aim of the project is quite open. It began when two members of CBiS made a short visit to Ireland earlier this year. The visit was intended as a  an attempt to gather images and ideas about what effect economic boom and bust has on the landscape and people who inhabit these environments. Much of what you read here based on not only external research into the subject, but also on conversation and ideas that occurred during the trip, and upon my struggle to come to terms with my own place within this disrupted environment.

The title to this project may give some clues about the pieces’ methodological, political and philosophical concerns. The idea of ‘wandering’ on one hand suggests a free flowing, multi-directional movement with no central foci. However the notion of wandering is also deeply connected the practice of derive, a current of Psychogeography that attempts unplanned and subversive journeys through usually urban landscapes. Here there is an attempt to use the history of one’s surroundings to radically critique contemporary mode of being, or current economic processes. Therefore, we can begin to think of the ghosts of the title as not only representing the unoccupied houses and other development that blight the landscape, but as also speaking for the concerns of the past, the people and politics that have preceded us, allowing us to gain a deeper understanding (an understanding that transcends current concerns with policy and practice) into the processes that have led the country to the unenviable position it now finds itself in. [more]

Words: Paddy Baxter  Photos: Paddy Baxter & Huw Wahl

 

When I am working on a project I often feel like I do when entering a shopping mall, or when I walk around foreign cities or even just stand in a supermarket – I feel overwhelmed by the amount of choice offering itself to me, I am inundated with impressions. I don´t know what to take in or what to ignore. Similarly, when filming, I ask myself where to start, what to focus on. When have I filmed enough, and whilst editing, what do I need to leave out even though I might consider it essential? These are all relevant issues, and there is no easy solution. In the end it comes down to subjective selection processes that enable us to make decisions, but there will never be any certainty you made the right choice. Yet often I feel that by focusing on one preliminary question, a lot of these dilemmas could be simplified. What makes us grasp an issue to a fuller extent is the choice of our research tools and the familiarity with our subject. Just like writing a shopping list before doing groceries, asking ourselves before we start work on a project if it makes sense to use film, or if a mix of mediums or the choice of another medium suits the topic better, helps getting a better feel for the research. This again helps us decide when to start, when to stop, what to include or what to leave out.

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