Saturday 21 November 2009

Luke Fowler at Modern Institute

A Grammer for Listening
(Parts 1-3)

Ever noticed the after-effect of sound rustling through a cityscape? What happens when images recede to the backdrop and sound takes on the leading role? Luke Fowler – in collaboration with Eric La Casa, Lee Patterson and Toshiya Tsunoda – creates field recordings to posit questions on how to develop new dialogues between looking and listening. (Read More...)

On the return journey from visiting the site in the Barras we decided to drop by the Modern Institute to see the current show by Glasgow based film/sound artists Luke Fowler.

It was a well and truly revelatory experience where you find yourself becoming completely emersed in the sounds which accomany the documentary-style footage. The use of focus is used to great effect here - particuallry effective in a scene which really brings out the depth through reeds on the edge of a pond.

There seems to be no immediate connection between the image and the sound which creates a sometimes quite haunting atmosphere. The use of contact mics in many of these pieces reveal the always present, otherwise inaudible sounds, travelling through objects which provides a whole new perspecive of our surrounding environments where the sounds transform the otherwise mundane everyday events into something quite extraordinary.

His four new short films Anna, Helen, David and Lester will be aired in Channel 4's Three-Minute Wonder slot from April 20. They're set in the West End close Fowler has just moved on from.

Each film is an elusive visual portrait of an individual tenement dweller, but instead of conventional documentary the films light on the tiny textural details of tenement life: light moving across a room, dust on a sill. Outside are the serried ranks of red sandstone, inside a hidden domestic world glimpsed obliquely. "It's about these very uniform outsides and what's going on inside: the layers of time in the flats, in all the furniture and the fittings. When I made the films I was fascinated by how completely different every flat was, yet it's the same light that goes through all the windows, the same street noise." (Read more...)

I find some of these works to be very reminiscent of John Smith's Leading light (1975) shot in a room over a period of a day and also Worst Case Scenario (2001-3) a series of photographs depicting daily life on a Viennese street corner.

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