Tuesday, July 31, 2007


"I make films and videos that are short experiences in transformative time. I strive to capture an active and immediate emotional state during shooting, often by photographing seemingly mundane activities. In editing, I distill the images to get to what I would call “emotionally charged nodes”. This process begins with a recognition of the emotional and rhythmic potential of an image, continues as I sequence the images, and finishes with the rendering and juxtaposition of these images against the filter of a carefully constructed soundtrack. The sounds are never the sound heard while recording the image. Rather, the soundscape is a construction that seems to come from the visual image but, in reality, works to isolate the emotional potential of the images. My films and videos are not ideas that are then executed. They are elaborations of active engagements with a present moment that is already past. In many ways, my work is more similar to the process of image construction in poetry, music, and painting, than it is to that of narrative or argumentative forms of filmmaking. It is a process that allows viewers to invest a great deal of their own imagination and memory, their own emotion, into these audio/visual episodes. It is that process of creating an image in the mind of the viewer--the psychological filling-in of the imagined space, not the actual photograph of a space--that interests me the most."

-Leighton Pierce.

Eight of Leighton Pierce's recent, short digital video experiments were screened during the AIFF last week. My memory of these already-evasive films is fading fast (it is unforgivable that I now can't recall the soundscape of most of these films, and it is an element that's as important as the image in Pierce's films - he was a musician before he was a filmmaker) and I'm left with rushes of exuberant colours and enigmatic forms and a strong desire of discovering some of them again (esp. Viscera, but also Water Seeking Its Level and A Private Happiness). Transitions between images are indecipherable here and they exist in a seeming flux, like the subject of water-as-an-element which these films keep returning to. At times, it seems Pierce is capturing the beauty, the ecstasy contained in matter before its inevitable disappearance (Evaporation, Wood), while in others his work comes across as a wondrous, childlike rediscovery of the world (literally in Fall, and also Water Seeking Its Level with its precious exclamation "Dad, look!") or documentaries on the assemblage of memories (A Private Happiness, Viscera). Each of these short works is an exploration of such transient rhythms in a specific environment (the hotel room in A Private Happiness, the backyard in Wood, the stream in Water Seeking Its Level), seemingly refracted and folded such that the captured quotidian moment becomes protracted, eternal. This is perfectly rendered in The Back Steps which repeats a lush, dissolved shot of Pierce's children - a girl and a boy, dressed for Halloween - as they joyously move down steps into the wilderness that is the backyard, "a moving Velasquez", as Jon Jost himself notes. And then there is Viscera, an astonishing piece on the recreation of a presence through remnants of their being, memories of their gestures, as molded in the impressionistic contours of light. A film built upon cascading refractions. The film dissolves in the memory as one watches it and (perhaps compounded by my own increasingly treacherous short-term memory) now I barely have any concrete recollection of it at all...


Blogger the art of memory said...

an amazing quote by him.
i wish i could have been there to see them.

8:06 PM  

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