THE ACT OF LISTENING [2017-2018]
50 Representations: An interest in how the act of listening is performed and revealed in film.
Certain paintings make me imagine what they sound like as music. This painting does that for me. I see how everything layered and scraped away, figures emerge from the field of hyperactive mess, accidents get muddled up with intentions. I think of a dark, jagged African hip-hop, stray voices shouting in and out of the mix and a mosque with a bad PA system wailing in the background. [Brian Eno; text accompanying Jean Dubuffet's The Busy Life in Tate Modern]
I discovered this a few years ago. Painted in 1953 and part of what the artist called his 'beaten pastes' series, The Busy Life is a mesh of abstract shapes and lines revealling distorted human figures and jagged city buildings. Later I discovered that writer and musician David Toop had begun to explore the representation of sound and silence in paintings. I became interested in how film characters express the private act of listening. A listening towards sounds emanating from the other side of the wall, from distant places, found recordings, telephone lines, from inside the mind.
Top row (L-R): Dancer in the Dark  •Ucho ('The Ear')  • Time of the Wolf  •Autumn Sonata 
Second row: The Sacrifice  •A Man Escaped  •Barton Fink  •Contact 
Third row: Son of Saul  •The Double Life of Veronique •The Sacrifice  •Carnival of Souls 
Fourth row: The Haunting  •Code Unknown •Das Boot  •The Conversation 
WHAT TRUTH LIES IN THE ACT OF LISTENING?
Werner Herzog asks his subjects to listen to the (apparent) subterranean soundscape in the documentary Encounters at the End of World . Real or imagined, what truth may reveal itself through the act of listening? "....What moves me has never been reality, but a question that lies behind it: the question of truth." - Herzog.
#21 Through a Glass Darkly  - dir. Ingmar Bergman
#22 The Virgin Spring  - dir. Ingmar Bergman
"I hear what I want to hear and see what I want to see. I hear what men whisper in secret and see what they think no one they sees. You can hear it yourself, if you wish. Just listen...." - the bridge keeper
#23 Rififi  - dir. Jules Dassin
#24 Touch of Evil  - dir. Orson Welles
#25 The Battle of Algiers  - dir. Gillo Pontecorvo
#26 Clean, Shaven  - dir. Lodge Kerrigan
#27 The Naked Gun  - dir. David Zucker, Peter Segal
#28 Persona  - dir. Ingmar Bergman
#29 The Asphalt Jungle  - dir. John Huston
#30 Silence  - dir. Ingmar Bergman
#31 Cries and Whispers  - dir. Ingmar Bergman
- "Anna...do you hear?"
- "I only hear the wind and the clocks ticking."
- "No, it's something else."
- "I don't hear anything else."
#32 Shame  - dir. Ingmar Bergman
#33 Summer Interlude  - dir. Ingmar Bergman
#34 Sleepless in Seattle  - dir. Nora Ephron
#35 Stalker  - dir. Andrei Tarkovsky
#36 Nostalghia  - dir. Andrei Tarkovsky
#37 Ivan's Childhood  - dir. Andrei Tarkovsky
#38 A Robert Bresson Triptych: Diary of a Country Priest , Pickpocket  and A Man Escaped 
#39 Dial M for Murder  - dir. Alfred Hitchcock
#40 Hiroshima Mon Amour  - dir. Alain Resnais
#41 Onibaba  - dir. Kaneto Shindo
#42 The Belovs  - dir. Victor Kossakovsky
#43 A Michelangelo Antonioni Triptych: L'Avventura , La Notte  and L'Eclisse 
#44 The Passenger  dir. Michelangelo Antonioni
#45 The Lives of Others  dir. Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
You know what Lenin said about Beethoven's Appassionata? - "If I keep listening to it, I won't finish the revolution." Can anyone who has listened to this music, I mean truly heard it, really be a bad person?
#46 Samurai Rebellion  dir. Masaki Kobayashi
#47 Ugetsu  dir. Kenji Mizoguchi
#48 The Sword of Doom  dir. Kihachi Okamoto
- "I didn't see anything, but I distinctly heard sounds. Mountain winds. They rise up from deep in the valleys, blowing up the young green leaves. Beyond all you see, are endless mountain ranges that fade far away into the clouds."
#49 Late Spring  dir. Yasujiro Ozu
#50 Double Indemnity  dir. Billy Wilder