13 octobre 2005

Secondary Currents (1983/Peter Rose)

More From the retrospective "La Pellicule du Chaos"

Secondary Currents (1983/Peter Rose/USA) 16' +++

"I'm an escape artist. I aspire to travel in the fifth dimension, to speak
unknown languages, to discover the next stage in the evolution of thought. I
construct structural parables that allude to the possibility of there being more
to the universe than is permitted by our explanations." Peter Rose

A strange narrator speaks an imaginary language, an unidentified voiceover subtitled in English on a black screen. Several voices overheard staging the verbal exchanges between a few characters, exposing with lyrical vocabulary the alienation of a foreigner arriving in a conservative community. The absence of images shifts the attention on the sonority of language, a sort of Esperanto sounding like Finnish or Native American Indian, sometimes Chinese or just freestyle gibberish, reminiscent of Dada poetry. Abandonned in the dark and missing the meaning of this language, the auditory experience focuses us on the intonations, the accentuations, the mood of the protagonists from their voice only. The subtitles, only graphic element shown on screen, become the center of the action. The traditional lower line of text translating the dialogue in a very neutral manner, takes liberties progressively, playing on the text format, alignment, verse composition, punctuation... As the quirky verbalisation we are listening to is futher complicated, soon the letters occupy the full space of the screen, and form disturbing mathematical equations where numbers are replaced by letters. Using all possible variation of a typeface, exponent, indice... When the furious cacophony is barely discernible the letters make a blinking canvas of textual matrix and words of a bigger scale appear against the background noise : "I destroy the language" "non-sense"...

An interesting reflexion on the operational mode of the soundtrack and our ambiguous relation to the onscreen information dephased or not with the audio content. It challenges the visual concentration and perverts the logic of language in our brains connections. It's mental sport!
Watching a lot of subtitled movies myself, I thought this little style exercice was particularly thought provocative and ironic. An experimentation related to the lettrist movement of Maurice Lemaître who used to distract annoyingly his audience with such visual mind-games in the 60ies.

Sample The other video clips on the site look great!

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