SURF ON SURFACE (audiovisual performance, 35 mins)
Georgij Bagdasarov studied composition at the Music Academy in Moscow and film in St. Petersburg. In his musical career he has gone through stages ranging from punk and techno to free improvisation with found and prepared items. His audiovisual projects are reminders of reminiscences; he emphasises the material nature of the medium and works with references to the history of cinema.
In your live audiovisual performance you refer to the work of Stan Brakhage and Paul Sharits, the two legends of American experimental film, especially those works of the 1960s and ‘70s. Are they mainly a visual or also an aural source of inspiration?
Regarding Brakhage, I have been inspired by his work with handmade films. He didn’t draw the images exactly onto each film frame, but worked with the whole surface of the film strip. Similarly, I take a picture of a whole desk and apply various surfaces on top. But after that this space is being screened in time. Sharits is known for mechanism, where various surfaces fade into each other. It is about a mathematical approach rather than about exact theorems – I create “kind of flicker loops” that have an inner metric structure.
After a longer period you focus particularly on image in the project Surf on Surface. Can you describe briefly the method of interconnecting image and sound?
Imagine sound would be applied to the whole surface of a film strip, the same as with Brakhage’s paintings. But then the film would be screened frame by frame and I would stop each frame for 1/24th or 1/18th of a second. I would not stop in a regular pattern, which is more typical for screening such a film strip. Every frame would be connected with a certain part of a sound record. And at such speeds of sound alteration it creates a granular synthesis1 where every “grain” of sound is connected to a film frame. Sound colours and tones are integrated with colours and brightness into every frame. Using my system I adjust their acoustic features in accordance with some harmonious rules – the camera recognizes and generates the sound according to the image.
Martin Mazanec with Georgij Bagdasarov
1 Granular synthesis: So-called “little grains“ are the basic element, sound microparticles (waveform, or short samples of around 30-50ms in length) that are played so quickly one after another that human brain perceives it as continuous sound space. (Ed.)