Three cognitive states with functional integrity vs. personal response, plus the erroneous state; vs. a “Concise (…) Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English”, thirty-two percent abridged




The film is a psycho-cognitive self-portrait with a supporting cast of 15 people.  You see the artist at work on this film, performing many different tasks at the same time.  Reading a dictionary aloud with clear articulation and fluent speaking tempo whilst following instructions in the script to switch quickly between three different voices, octaves apart from each other, while keeping the facial expression consistent; then keeping the voice consistent while switching between three very different facial expressions.  Verifying and correcting typos in the text as they present themselves, looking up a pronunciation when unsure, et cetera.


It starts on May 1st, 13th and 29th, June 5th, 6th, and 8th and July 4th, all at once.  I, with a cold, am sitting in a chair in a dimly-lit part of my room, getting used to looking at myself on camera.  I, without a cold, am lying on a couch in another part of my room and am operating my text cue using two buttons on a computer keyboard.  This is not so comfortable with the extreme vocal maneuvering and my neck, so I decide to sit upright.  A friend of mine in another take, sitting on the same couch and without his glasses, squints to read his lines.  I, on the 4th of July, am switching between facial expressions and reading with the tempo of a piece of music playing in my ears; various painted objects stand in the background in a well-lit, colorful part of the room.  One by one, these shots end and new shots come in; new faces, voices and settings/arrangements appear.


The heads move like accordions, sometimes with a very large forehead or a very small chin, sometimes no lips.  You see us conjoined at the shoulder, features melting off of our faces, one head with many different faces, interchanging in quick succession with each individual movement.  A cacophonic layering of voices coming from this psychedelic layering of faces, all reciting fragmented definitions of slang terms and expressions in their own complex rhythms of speech.


The soundtrack is played by a live musician from an electronic keyboard directly into the render stream of the film, which is programmed to be screened live from openFrameworks. From each shoot, a spectral analysis of the audio track is taken by FFT and converted into a series of dots that graphs the fundamental frequency along a timeline. These series of dots are layered over each other into a score in the same way as the video images are layered one on top of the other.  These dots have a different size/length ratio depending on which layer of audio they represent.  Height indicates how loudly a note is to be played and breadth indicates the length of time the key is to be kept depressed after attack.  The computer is thus able to sort and route the signals that it receives from the keyboard, by the loudness-length ratio, in order to auto-tune the audio tracks on an individual basis in real time.


The FFT analysis is also used in the mastering of the image.  If you look at the spectrogram of speech, you see many lines representing the fundamental frequency (f0) and overtones (f1, f2, f3, … ), called formants, which all mix to produce the sound of the human voice. The video sequences are all split into five equal strips, zoomed so as to show only 68 percent of the image at one point in time.  The camera view moves up and down in real time, controlled by the first five formants in the spectrum. This happens per individual layer, thus everyone will be moving in contrasting directions most of the time.


The subtitles are entire paragraphs, constructed of the many fragments of speech being recited in unison, increasing and decreasing in length proportional to the number of speakers in view.  Like the speakers, the subtitles do not change all at once. Portions of the paragraph disappear and new ones come into place, giving the paragraph a different cumulative meaning.  As different light sources mix and different attires are worn, the colors in the film undulate between hot and cool in a dense construction of long layered waves.  The voices and the facial expressions also evolve over time; new colors develop in the voices and new shapes in the faces as they are exercised for extended periods of time.


The film, lasting precisely 9 hours, 59 minutes and 10 seconds, is an account of the natural and synthetic processes by which the work as a complex organism came to exist.  The audience will also move in a similar fashion to all aspects of the film.  An audience will enter the screening area, each will stay for any period of time, leave and be replaced by new audience members.  The screenings will be documented to record these relationships for further research.


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