Interval and Instance (2018-19) is a solo audio-visual work exploring speed, motion and scale in archival material from the pioneering scientific filmmaker Eric Lucey, adding structured, extemporised live electronics to a fixed soundtrack that reflects on and responds to Lucey’s studies.
Interval and Instance premiered at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in June 2018 as part of a set of events featuring Lucey’s archive. It was subsequently redeveloped for fixed multiscreen and multichannel installation for Dialogues Festival in February 2019, and most recently performed in an immersive multichannel and multiscreen form for Cryptic Nights at Glasgow’s Centre for Contemporary Arts in June 2019.
This release is the live audio from the Cryptic Nights performance, split across two tracks, and the performance can be watched in full at vimeo.com/386212794
Lucey's film-making was defined by his manipulation of speed, motion and scale as tools for observing behaviour using a variety of techniques, most famously time-lapse or very high-speed film, and microphotography. The subjects of his films vary from cells dividing and crystals forming, insect and animal behaviour, human motion and physical process as well as exploratory studies into feedback, interference and pattern. All of these aspects provide a useful prompt for developing sonic and musical processes that support and draw attention to the visual character of the films, with some creative, perceptual, performative and poetic licence that’s suggestive of the contemporaneous Radiophonic workshop.
While the work is non-narrative, the clips have been assembled to provide moments of continuity and contrast. A base soundtrack with sound design and musical elements has been added to the film, which is processed and augmented in real-time. In particular the work makes use of extensive layering, time-stretching and time-compression, extreme pitch-shifting, physical modelling and frequency carving to create unexpected points of audition which offers audiences a detailed, expressive and immersive audio-visual experience that incorporates spectralism, repetition and granular detail. Sounds accelerate with visuals into dynamic forms, then are frozen, prolonged and intensified to what’s been described as ‘unnatural and uneasy duration’.
The main attraction in working with the Lucey archive was the combination of experimentation, invention and rigour in the films in the Lucey archive, coupled with the micro and macro character of the visual forms. The images are often alien, with glitched rhythms and geometries. The shape and texture of sonic material are informed by the abstract qualities of pattern, texture and detail in fractured crystals, billowing ripples and other elements. In creating and performing some of the more organic sound design elements there are often many layers of filtered sounds stacked and automated to create a single stream and this might be seen as a sonic metaphor for the shifting focus and emergent character of Lucey's films.
released August 14, 2020
Cover image: Eric Lucey
Cathie Boyd, Claire Moran and all at cryptic.org.uk
Rachel Hosker at Special Collections at The University of Edinburgh
Martin Parker at Dialogues Festival, Edinburgh College of Art
Edinburgh International Film Festival