EARCAKE: Ear for Eye [2016]

20 sound collages inspired by the work of Ivo Špalj


In 2014 while studing at the National Film and Telvision School (NFTS), I was involved in a collaborative exercise between the animation and sound design department. The brief was simple: create a 1-minute piece of sound to be randomly assigned to an animator, freely interpreted by them and used as a starting point for a 1-minute film. The work to emerge from this process produced some really interesting audiovisual experiences. Unusual or odd relationships between sound and image that might not have occured had the interaction between the animator and sound designer been more conventional. The sound piece I created was assigned to animator Steve Warne, who responded with this animation:

I began to think about what other unusal work might emerge when sound preceded picture in the filmmaking process. This has led to EARCAKE - a series of 1-minute sound pieces for filmmakers.

The sound pieces here are available for any filmmaker - animators, live action, video artists, graphic designers, computer programmers - to download and use as a starting point for the creation of a new work, sketch or idea. An experimental platform really for anyone interested in freely responding to a chosen sound piece through their own visual ideas. The scope for unusual combinations of sound and picture that we wouldn't normally think of is rich and full of potential. Filmmakers might respond by closely following the sound to express a narrative arc or present a familiar relationship between sound and picture (synchronous sound, faithful sense of scale, place, movement). Equally they might create something that departs from the associations inherent in the sound material - something more abstract, a counterpoint, a different idea.

These sound pieces have been created to sort of pose questions to the filmmaker: a possible action, a suggestion of transition, a mood or location, a potential object, creature or emerging story. How they respond to the sounds - reinterating, rejecting, subverting - is up to them. Sonically the pieces are inspired by the work of Ivo Spalj (Jan Švankmajer) and Larry Sider (Quay Brothers). A couple of the more cartoony-noise collages come from my love of the Maldoror (1999) album by Merzbow and Mike Patton.

Ultimately the aim of this endeavour is to facilitate greater collaborative opportunities between picture and sound, to experiment with a different kind of filmmaking in which sound precedes picture, and to explore unusual juxtaspositions of sound and picture.

For file requests / further information: robszeliga[@]gmail.com

"my scissors walking sound like your cutting feet" - J.H