Almost two hundred identical, small mirrors are arranged in a grid to form a flat, homogenous surface. Hung against the wall, the mirrors are closely spaced and apparently static; but they possess the ability to move in harmony with one another. Approaching the artwork, the individual mirrors turn together to face the onlooker, following as he or she moves. The plane of the surface distorts into varying, three-dimensional forms — perhaps a wave, or a curve, or a circle. The reflection becomes fragmented and the apparently inanimate object becomes akin to something organic and alive. A divided whole, it disperses a divided reflection. Engaging with the piece creates a physical, interrelated dialogue between human and non-human behaviour.
Documentation from 'Random International: On The Body' at Pace Gallery, New York 2016.
Music by Pearse McGloughlin and Enda Roche.
Produced by Darragh Nolan at Asta Kalapa, Gorey
'Whale Song' is a single from Irish group Nocturnes' new album 'The Soft Animal'. The piece is inspired by the song whales use to communicate and it draws parallels between these great ocean creatures and our human selves. The sea represents our unconscious, our spiritual depths and the song gives voice to a desire to live lives of connection, nobility and strength.
Kevin McGloughlin has directed a number of videos for his brother Pearse, songwriter with Nocturnes. For 'Whale Song' Kevin combines animated footage and live action footage to mesmeric effect, creating an imagined astro-aquatic environment which is both the sea and the cosmos, the aquatic and the astronomic.
Kevin on his approach to the piece
'After many a chat with Pearse over the course of the album I had a good idea of where the song was coming from. So it was a matter of visualising an already painted picture. I took quite an expressionistic approach to the video, not worrying much about realism and detail while putting my focus on creating an immersive experience for the viewer. We felt a surreal mix of the ocean and the cosmos fitted nicely, highlighting the depth of the ocean and the depths within ourselves'.
'The Soft Animal' by Nocturnes is Sligo songwriter Pearse McGloughlin’s first
album release since the birth of his daughter, and a more personal record than
previous works. A transformed creativity and time of reflection has resulted in an
emotionally resonant album drawing from childhood and parenthood, and human
spiritual and animal nature.
Nocturnes features Choice Music Award winning Adrian Crowley on lead
vocals for ‘Heikegani’; Pearse’s long time collaborator and multi-instrumentalist
Enda Roche and Christophe Capewell on violins. Produced at Asta Kalapa
studios by Darragh Nolan, the album was largely recorded in live takes creating a
heady organic impact.
A follow-on from his previous collaboration ‘Idiot Songs’ with friend and composer
Justin Grounds, The Soft Animal is a new departure, in essence an ambient first-
person narrative. A collection of new age noir, it features meditative atmospherics
alongside folk-tinged tales of redemption. The story of the record is an intriguing
one; it involves oceanic themes, dramatic rescues, glimpses of the fantastical,
and our struggles with serpents of many types, real and imagined.
Pearse, on the inspiration behind The Soft Animal, observes: ‘I wanted to explore
what we share as humans: our animal origins, our residence in the natural world.
Having my daughter arrive into my life prompted this simple reverie.’
The Soft Animal interweaves live recordings with rich production to create an
expansive range of sounds and emotions echoing influences as diverse as Sufjan
Stevens and A Winged Victory for the Sullen.
Reflecting on the recording process Pearse comments: ‘Enda, Darragh and I were
guided by the drama of what can happen when you record musicians playing live
together. We were seeking feeling and atmosphere.'
The Soft Animal has featured on BBC Radio Ulster, RTE, Today FM as well as on Jason Kramer's show on KCRW.
‘subtle elements of the fantastical’ - The Irish Times
‘flits between folk, ambient, orchestral and singer-songwriter styles, underscoring
an inquisitiveness and search for something greater within’… Nialler9
‘Release of The Week’ ….. The Irish Times Culture
‘beautiful harmonies’ - BBC Radio Ulster Across the Line
"a rewarding listen, 'The Soft Animal' is a true album " - The Last Mixtape
I had a lot of high speed train journeys recently and I love watching the wires seemingly dance around outside the window. I wondered if we could be getting fooled by a similar process during our usual experience of time, and thought it would be an interesting project for a music video set to the music created during the same journeys.
The wires outside the window are static but they appear to move because of our motion past them. Perhaps our usual experience of movement could be explained by a similar process, where time is a physical dimension into which everything grows, with the present as the surface of this inflating structure. It ties in to a lot of physics ideas which are very common, and I thought it could make for an interesting music video, if I could find someone who might be able to pull it off!
Luckily for me, one of my favourite visual artists, Kevin McGloughlin had already been experimenting with linked techniques and ideas, and he's gone to town on it with a multitude of techniques and editing precision to create something pretty special. And yes, there's certainly a nod to the original time-stretch slitscan effects of Kubrick's 2001.
I wanted to show the transition from our normal experience of time to a stretched out past as a physical structure when viewed from an alternative perspective outside of the dimensions we're usually constrained to.
One other interesting thing about this model of time is that it helps with some mind-pickling metaphysical conundrums around the sense in which the past exists. In this model it literally exists out there behind us as a physical 4D structure. If we could travel outside of our growing surface somehow and went back to the past it wouldn't be much fun though, we'd just find solid lifeless stretched out versions of ourselves.
For the music I wanted to bring these ideas of frozen moments of the past into play, and no better excuse to get stuck in with the Prophet 6 on some lush classic analogue synth sounds for the main chord sequence, and plenty of nob noodling for a dance of modulating sounds around the main sequence. I wanted to keep it fairly sparse to let the chord patch be central, and just focus on trying to make every element, including the percussion, warp a little, so you can either listen to the track from a distance and hear the harmonic ideas, or delve in to find all sorts more hiding in there. Kevin did an amazing (and painstaking) job of warping the video to sync with the audio detailing.
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Max Cooper and I discussed ideas about space-time before embarking on the Resynthesis project.
We were on the same page for the most part, though, working with Max is always insightful and he enlightened me with some really fascinating ideas about space - time.
I was delighted to once again collaborate, especially with reference to 'time', which is such a relatable and unavoidable part of everyone and everything.
The track is really beautiful, I saw the visuals in the music quite clearly from the offset.
I could hear the 'time stretching' in the melodies and synths and I was greatly inspired by it.
My aspiration in this piece was to create a journey for the viewer, a passage through space and time, in an effort to represent time as a dimensional structure.
I aimed to convey existence as a solid component of time, an effort to glimpse the idea that our past still exists out there in a stretched, distorted dwelling..
I wanted to capture a human / mortal essence of time, displaying brief impressions of human interactions and activity, traveling in time.
All the fundamental assets were captured employing photography and realtime footage.
I stretched time in both 3d and 2d space using a wide variety of time displacement techniques, ranging from 'in camera' work to quite laborious post production work.
Fun Fact..Some of the clips contain exactly one googol videos playing simultaneously.
(using a method I devised some time ago, ie.the second last very short clip)
Most of footage/photography was shot in Dublin Ireland, with additional shots from Co. Sligo.
Working with Max always makes for an interesting time.