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and forth between foreground and background. Especially with experimental work there are times in which the image should almost drop out and a sound should come forward and there are other times when a sound should drop back. It’s very different compared to classic cinema sound, where—except for the rock songs—it’s more to be felt and not heard. I mean, there are times I really want you to hear and there are other times where I’m conscious of a kind of scooping back underneath so that the sound might be more felt than heard. And sound affects everything you see. I did a soundtrack once for a videoartist named Seoungho Cho and someone wrote an essay about it and described the videotape which was a fairly abstract image and ambient soundtrack: there is no acting, there is no story, there are not any actors. The writer only focused on the images: She talked about it as very brown and dark and depressed and slow. Sometime after she wrote this, we realised that the soundtrack wasn’t working very well—for Cho or for myself; we saw it at a couple of festivals and it was like, well, that’s kind of depressing. I did a new soundtrack and the woman saw the video again and she said: Wow, you
know, this is different than I remember! This is firey and sexy—I don’t remember it being like this! But what she didn’t understand was that the sound had changed and the sound was affecting how she related to the image. She didn’t even have the language in which to speak about sound.
We are finally getting to a point of developing a language for sound, but a lot of it is related to film. There is a conference in London called “The school of sound” and for example Michel Chion, the French theorist will speak and Walter Murch, the great film sound designer will speak. But it’s very much about sound in relation to cinema and again: I think it’s very different when you speak about sound in relation to video art or in relation to new media. So I think there are really only a few people who have even attempted to speak about and to describe sound in relation to video. An interesting thing for a collaboration between me and another artist is the way that we start to try to find a common vocabulary. With Eder Santos, a Brazilian video maker, we’ve done over 40 projects together.