Artbank collection, commissioned 2014
"With this film I wanted to play with the physicality of composing music, turning an inner process outward by having Erik dance, sometimes tentatively, sometimes with gusto, between notes," says artist Dean Manning. "The writing of music, for me, varies each time. Some songs miraculously appear nearly writing themselves while others are like jumping between moving logs in a fast flowing river. It’s a matter of waiting for the right moment and the right piano key to become apparent. I hope with Erik to invite the viewer into this process of music making."
‘Erik’ is a mannequin puppet who walks across the keys of a piano, stopping for a moment to listen to different drum machine beats before selecting one and dancing to what he hears. The action is interrupted by an unexpected dream sequence which Erik “insisted” on being included. Grainy and flickering as if wound by hand, this work by Dean Manning is shot on black and white Super 8 film in shadow theatre style characteristic of his animation practice. Composed by Manning, the music is a sparse piano piece with beats, which the artist describes as “Vic Chesnutt meets Erik Satie”.
Dean Manning is a Sydney based composer, musician and artist. After a long music career performing with indie pop groups Holidays On Ice and Leonardo’s Bride as well as solo excursions, Manning began exhibiting his visual art in 2008.