Task 27 – Don’t You Wonder Sometimes

Alan writes:

Continuing with the theme of negotiating our different attitudes to art and process, this week your task is to respond to a piece of work that I’m making separate to the project. I have already used this videoessay in progress as the basis for a previous task, but this time I’d like you to respond to it more deliberately and directly, especially because (as we have established in conversation) you don’t like the piece and you don’t like the film it’s based on.

Here’s the extract from the videoessay in progress, working title ‘Immanent Vice’, based on Inherent Vice (2014), itself an adaptation of a novel by Thomas Pynchon, one of my favourite writers.


What this videoessay does (or what it will do) is to compress the whole film into a quarter of its original running time by dividing it clockwise across four screens. Every time there’s a hard cut (not a cross dissolve), I take the discrete shot and insert on the four-track timeline in the furthest back available space, in a procedure somewhat like a game of Tetris. This means that the time of the film gets folded back on itself, sometimes significantly, with long takes, or shots linked by dissolves, continuing to play on one of the four screens/tracks long after other scenes that come later in the original film. I haven’t treated the sound yet, currently simply layered in four tracks equivalent to the visual tracks, but eventually I will adjust the volume of each track relative to the others according to a set of principles or themes I haven’t yet worked out.

Anyway, I know – because you’ve told me – that you ‘don’t get’ this work, and can’t understand my interest in the film Inherent Vice. And it’s this dislike and exasperated perplexity that I want to orient you as you perform your task.

Your task

Consider the videoessay in progress in whole or in part (it’s already an extract from what will be a film of roughly thirty minutes). I want you to respond to it with movement and voice.

  • What can you take from it visually, aurally, or in terms of the generative principles of the videoessay, that can be used to generate your own vocal sounds and physical movement?
  • How can the sounds and movement you produce express a critique of the work I’m making?
  • Reflect on any general lessons you can derive from your investigation about the physical/vocal or performative response to audiovisual material.
  • Reflect also on what your response may have revealed about the differences (or any similarities) between our poetics and approaches.

See Marie’s response here.