These 5 video works represent a series of pieces I made from 2010-2012 that all utilize music composed by my son Elliott Grabill.
"Wet" is an experimental video conceived as a dream collage. In the principal scenes, various artifacts of TV media are subjected to a forceful purifying water barrage. I collaborated with computer animator Francisco Olivares to create a waterspout sequence designed to overwhelm a series of abstracted TV scenes. A second animated water sequence depicts the flooding of the physical detritus of our media infrastructure. Additional interludes depicting wetness round out the video?s visual episodes.
My intent for "Frontier" was to create a visually-rich abstract environment by blending together a wide assortment of video imagery, ranging from natural phenomena (water, sky, etc.), to rapidly-scanned street scenes, to manipulated faces shot off a television screen. Central to the visual field is a slowly moving window frame structure that allows these various visual sequences to be seen together, viewed both inside and outside the animated ?window? openings, allowing for an ongoing figure/ground play of contrasting imagery. While these image pairings play out, additional visual elements eventually course across the picture plane like storms, sometimes obscuring the window frame structure beneath. I collaborated with Elliott and also Argentinian composer Martin Gendelman. The predominant soundtrack element derives from Elliott?s composition for chorus, "Hathors", in which Elliott channels vocalizations from an extraterrestrial people.
"Frontier" was selected for the "Catalyst: 35 Years of Washington Project for the Arts" exhibition at the American University Museum at the Katzen Center, Washington, D.C. in 2010. It was also exhibited at the 2011 Maryland Film Festival and the Athens International Film & Video Festival. And "Frontier" was selected for the "Under Cover" exhibition at the Decker Gallery at MICA, a project of the Exhibition Development Seminar, January 27-March 11, 2012.
"Kings Highway / Stillwell Ave., Brooklyn" started as a piece of music for piano written by Elliott. It was inspired by Elliott's "feeling sad about leaving New York City to move to Washington, D.C." Elliott took inspiration for this piece "from a dreary day in February when, visiting Brooklyn, I felt that everything had gone on without me."
I made a video recording of Elliott playing "Kings Highway" at a performance in Washington, D.C. in October 2010. Elliott provided several hundred digital photos he had taken during his time in New York, and together, Elliott and I decided how to edit these images in and around the performance video footage. "Kings Highway" was selected as a finalist in the 2011 Rosebud Film & Video Awards Competition.
"After the Storms" is a recent video collaboration between Elliott and I that derives from a piece of music Elliott composed to serve as a soundtrack for a dance performance by choreographer Danielle Greene. The video was edited just after the hurricanes Irene and Lee, the storms referenced in the title, visited the mid-atlantic area.
"Pranayama, Part 3" is one of a four-part music/video work. I shot and edited the video that comprises the visual track for Elliott's musical composition "Pranayama". Elliott describes the process he used for developing his music:
"Pranayama" is my longest and most ambitious piece to date. I took the name from a type of meditative breathing - prana, in this case, represents life energy. Each of the four movements is centered around a single note: C, G, D, and A for movements I, II, III, and IV respectively. As each movement progresses, a profusion of other pitches and sounds begin to ornament the base notes."
While Elliott's music stands on its own, we decided to experiment with possible approaches to visualizing the music on the occasion of a concert Elliott had in October 2010 in Washington, D.C. The visual sequences derive from abstracted television images and water reflections, though most contextual associations have been removed by shooting the video through a large fabricated lens. The intent is to create images that focus primarily on various amorphous qualities of color, shape, and movement, thereby suggesting appropriate connections to the music.
"Pranayama 3" was exhibited at the International Computer Music Conference (ICMC) in Huddersfield, England, August 2011.