This is an excerpt from the sunrise/sunset sequence of DECADES: 1980s, the second installment of an ongoing project (the first was the 1970s). The allegory of daybreak and nightfall was an important phenomenology in 1980s cinema. Now a lost phenomenology haunted by (in the case of New York City) the now uncanny specter of the Twin Towers. In the 1980s, daybreak always promises relief from political or existential horror, while nightfall entails the coming of nightmare and struggle. A dark night of the soul. This trailer features the first 5 minutes of that hour long section.
More information about the project:
A decade is a 20th century measurement and bracket of time that ended with the arrival of the 21st century, whose time is no longer quantifiable in the same way. Using the found material of film scores and diegetic sound to build a score for an entire decade, DECADES, a durational sound history, sound-essay, and portrait of time, proposes that the way we experience cultural shifts is not simply visual or narrative, but tonal.
Like LOVE SOUNDS (penny-ante.net/title/love-sounds/), a 24-hour film which used audio (dialogue) from movies to compose a spoken history of love in English-speaking cinema, DECADES utilizes film score and film sound to produce a score for every decade of the 20th century.
Unearthing each decade’s particular sound patterns and cultural progressions--its themes, politics, anxieties, moods, recurring notes--DECADES asks: What sounds does a decade make? What is each decade’s mood, tone, and theme? Why do sounds repeat and return? How do sounds accumulate and accrue into a system of information? What do the sounds we hear tell us about what we are seeing, what we have seen, and what we expect to see in the future? Finally, what new narratives emerge if we use sound as our organizing principle for images rather than the other way around?
Using editing as a tracking and analytical device, DECADES listens to the way images sound—or rather, to the sounds images make. After composing a score for each decade, the audio fragments are correlated to their corresponding film visuals, producing a new narrative chronology and cinematic sound history. The musical composition will reveal the visual narrative—the sound determines the cut. By listening intently to the sounds a decade makes, the sounds it keeps making, across genres and cultures, the instruments repeatedly chosen to signal a particular time, place, and mood, we can begin to understand something about the progression and treatment of time, and how a decade voices itself through sound.