An exploration of the enfolding of song-making and first-person filmmaking.
University of Salford
Dr Joanne Scott
Dr Alison Matthews
The Song-Film project is a practice-based and interdisciplinary exploration of the enfolding of song-making and first-person filmmaking. First-person ﬁlmmaking, as the theorist Alisa Lebow (2012, p. 1) explains, ‘is foremost about a mode of address: these ﬁlms speak from the articulated point of view of the ﬁlmmaker who readily acknowledges her subjective position’. In so doing, it is a form that can share ground with song-making in the use of this first-person address, the self-reflective writing that this address encourages and the recorded vocal performance of these reflections by the maker themselves. Despite this shared ground, instances of their enfolding – such as when Laurie Anderson moves her film’s narration, in Heart of a Dog (2015), from speech into song – are rare. An area of established song-film theory and practice therefore does not precede this project, which embraces the subjective necessity of a phenomenological perspective, using cycles of making, reflection and analysis to form a thorough communication of the making process. Practice-as-research is core to the project’s overall methodology, as insight into the song-film’s process must be found in ‘the feel of the action of the instrument’ (Nelson, 2013, p. 10), the instrument in this case being an interrelation of camera, laptop, microphone and the artist’s body. Nelson (2013) places this feel in relation to the notion of knowledge as more akin to a ‘knowing-doing’ action inherent to a practice that must therefore be at the core of its own enquiry (p.10). These approaches in turn inform practice methods that embrace the often enquiring and flexible form of first-person film that Rascaroli (2009) theorises, including song as one of many valid responses within the film-narrator’s voice. The exploration of the maker’s personal environments – their home and neighbourhood, through movement, observation and interaction – has proved a productive means of allowing song and film to emerge together as mixing responses to this environment’s uncontrollable conditions. These song-film results are enabled by the improvisation, repetition and cycles of peripatetic making inherent to a diaristic process which itself encourages a non-hierarchical inclusion of material. The intermedia and interdisciplinary outcomes that are nurtured by these approaches are original in their revealing of song and film as enfolding first-person emergences.
first-person filmmaking and writing,
responsive and improvisational making
and immersive making.
Sylvan EP, published by Knives Imprint, 2021.
Naps of Hope LP, published by Some Other Planet Records, 2023.
‘Owen’s Move for Mind Walking Film’, chapter contributed to Radical Film at The Dawn of a New Society, published by K Verla, 2023.