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Valentina (2020)

3 minutes 55 seconds 16mm transfer to digital, black and white, stereo / / film credits, exhibitions and screenings here >

Valentina is a prelude to Wendy, a speculative portrait and film fan-letter, informed by the work of composer and musician Wendy Carlos - self-described as “The Original Synth”. In Valentina, an unedited 100ft reel of hand-processed 16mm film, shot in rehearsal, is used as a silent score for a reading. Performer and dancer Valentina Formenti recalls part of a transcribed interview with Carlos, later edited for publication in ‘Playboy’ in 1979. Whilst the magazine interview was seen as the first public announcement of Carlos’ gender transition, these absent passages, excluded from the final edit, include her connected interests in cartography, physics, mathematics’ transformations, astronomy, and her practice in solar eclipse photography. Valentina's multiple voices are translated through Vocoder, and collaged with musician Tom Richards’ performance on Daphne Oram’s unrealised ‘Mini-Oramics’, to suggest a coming into being through sonic synthesis.

‘…imagining a world without gender, which is perhaps a world without genesis, but maybe also a world without end.” (Donna Haraway, ’A Manifesto for Cyborgs’, Socialist Review, no.80, 1985)

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wendycarlos_studio1984.jpg

Incantation, Wendy [2018]

100 minutes, stereo

“Oh, it was gorgeousness and gorgeosity made flesh. The trombones crunched redgold under my bed, and behind my gulliver the trumpets three-wise silverflamed, and there by the door the timps rolling through my guts and out again crunched like candy thunder.” [1]

Incantation, Wendy is a recorded broadcast for radio by Frances Scott and Chu-Li Shewring. The piece looks to the work of pioneering composer and musician Wendy Carlos. Carlos famously arranged the distinctive soundtracks for Stanley Kubrick’s ‘A Clockwork Orange’ [1971] and ‘The Shining’ [1981], and spearheaded developments on the Moog Synthesiser and use of the Vocoder. Incantation, Wendy includes excerpts and full recordings from Carlos' extraordinary practice, including unused material intended for ‘A Clockwork Orange’ and ‘The Shining’. and recordings by the artists, as music from the recording session bleeds into sounds beyond the studio, and scripted readings using a Vocoder invoke the spirit of 'Danny' - “A shine knows a shine.” [2]

The broadcast includes the following excerpts and tracks from Wendy Carlos’ oeuvre: ‘Switched on Bach’ [1968]; ‘The Well Tempered Synthesiser’ [1969]; ‘Sonic Seasonings’ [1972]; ‘Wendy Carlos' A Clockwork Orange’ [1972]; ‘Digital Moonscapes’ [1984]; ‘Beauty in the Beast’ [1986]; ‘Wendy Carlos: Secrets of Synthesis’ [1987]; ‘By Request’ [2003]; and ‘Quintessential Archeomusicology - Film Music by Wendy Carlos: Rediscovering Lost Scores Vol.1’ [1972 - 2005]

Incantation, Wendy was first commissioned by TACO! [Thamesmead Arts and Culture Office] for community radio station RTM.FM and performed as a live session as part of TEN SLOTTE programme, curated by Vincent Stroep/Escautville for Het Bos, Antwerp. It was recorded at Totland Bay on the Isle of Wight, October 2018 and forms part of a research residency at TACO! which will culminate in a new, long-form film.

As part of the research programme, Frances initiated 'VHS' with curator Mat Jenner, a regular film event at TACO!, where each screening is selected by invited contributors to form an expanding programme of moving image. 'Collapse' was the first event in the series. 'VHS' takes its title as an acronym from Anthony Burgess’ nadsat vocabulary – a fictional language of ‘a not-too-distant future’ - developed for 'A Clockwork Orange', scenes from which were later shot on the Thamesmead estate. ‘Viddy’ means to see or look, and ‘horrorshow’ indicates ‘well’ or ‘good’.

Image: Photograph by Vernon Smith, taken of Wendy Carlos in her studio, 1984 [during the release of 'Digital Moonscapes'], copyright Wendy Carlos. Footnotes: [1] Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange (1962); [2] Stephen King, The Shining (1977).

 
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