Vowels and consonants.

Sherwin, Guy K. ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1862-8210 and Loo, Lynn (2005) Vowels and consonants. [Film/Video]


Recently, the entry of film/video into the art gallery has generated interest in earlier periods of artists' cinema, specifically the material/formal ideas of 1970s ‘expanded cinema' (Live in Your Head, Whitechapel 2000) and has contributed to a renewal of critical production.

This ‘film performance' stretches the boundaries of film in three ways: production, authorship, means of exhibition.

Production. This work is possibly unique in exploring relationships between letterforms and output as optical sounds. Made without a camera, all images and sounds in the film derive from computer-generated letterforms copied photographically onto 16mm film. The work asks: what is the character of sound made by these physical shapes of letters (e.g. ‘O' is warm, ‘E' is hard) and how can they be composed as a film artwork?

Authorship. The work is an equal collaboration with artist Lynn Loo (UEA). Improvising musicians are at times co-opted to play live during its performances (Washington and Aufermann London 2005; Wilkinson Leeds 2006; Besson Paris 2006; Alan Montreal 2006). The musicians are asked to play within the implied space between the optical noises made by the letters and our knowledge of them as uttered sounds.

Exhibition. The work is radical in its means of exhibition, using six 16mm projectors as instruments while their soundtracks interact with the live musicians. The work tests whether film projection can be brought closer to the realm of improvised music.

In its various aspects the work develops ideas of optical sound (McLaren 1950s, Sherwin's own optical sound films of the 1970s - see DVD); of ‘expanded cinema' exhibition (ICA 1976, Dortmund 2004) and of image / sound collaboration (Metamkine 2005-7, Reble/Koner 2004-6).

Success of the work is demonstrated using the same criteria as output one.

A combined DVD/book ‘Guy Sherwin - Optical Sound Films' is in production.

Item Type: Film/Video
Research Areas: A. > School of Art and Design > Visual Arts
Item ID: 492
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Repository team
Date Deposited: 14 Nov 2008 17:28
Last Modified: 22 Jul 2020 14:50
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/492

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