Eksod – Altering the Cinematic Experience

As a sound recordist for film & television in Oregon, I’m responsible for keeping synchronicity between the camera department and my location recordings. Motion pictures demand an unceasing audio stream of dialogue, effects, and music to glue at least 24 frames per second of visuals together. It wasn’t always this way of course. Motion pictures began without audio synchronicity, and without field sound recordings. Silent film provided a rapid stream of still frames that reflected an animated reality that was novel enough for this blog to exist.

Today video is ubiquitous and it’s easy to overlook the artistry required to bring it to screen. What if we could truly appreciate cinematography as much as visual art in a gallery? What if we could appreciate sound recording and design as the equal partner in a loving relationship, not as a servant to the visuals?

With each film or program I record, the production invariably falls back to the same workflow while aspiring for the same end product, and I always catch myself re-asking these questions. Eventually, a new format came to mind, not a movie but an experience. In this new theater, visual art replaces cinematography and the sound recording and design fills a broader 3-dimensional space where its audience has the freedom to walk from scene to scene. 

Novel thoughts are merely theories until they are executed so I’ve made a nomadic theater capable of hosting this format. And I’m excited to announce a seminal installation using this format. Eksod will demonstrate an alternative product to the cinema where filmmakers and artists from different mediums can collaborate in new ways. 

In the case of Eksod, I photographed and sound recorded a story about an Albanian attempting to emigrate to the States. Having just joined NATO in 2009, Albania holds the highest emigration rate of any country not in armed conflict in Europe. Well before and after Eksod was shot, many people have continued to risk their lives trying to find the remnants of an ever-elusive American Dream. This story is universally applicable, whether we are running from violence or a crippling day-to-day grind.

The installation will occur at Zidell Yard in the south waterfront of Portland from April 1st thru April 24th. More info can be found at www.hearsight.com

-J Fernando Valls


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