words and art by w a l t e r w s m i t h

Film

into abstraction | form and data | on the edge of everything there is | a moment in time we can never bring back

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There is so much one can say about the possibilities inherent in the creative process. Do we move definitely in a pre-determined direction (unwavering, specific in structure), or allow our intuition (and the tool itself (in my case, the computer)) to guide us. Perhaps a little bit of both. Creating contradictions, beauty, and ambiguities along the way: Magic and loss while searching through memories. Finding that time does not stand still at all, but evolve and return. A returning ecstasy. And so does a work of art. And so too the recollection inherent to its evolution. My video work is a collection of memories, images, and sounds, purposefully or unconsciously contradicting and re-inventing themselves. Disintegrating into loops of color, texture, movement, geometric form, data, time, and space. I want my work to reflect our internal and external existence; to visually and musically create a sense of things happening all at once.


into abstraction | form and memories


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Into Abstraction | Form and Memories, the artist Walter Smith continues his exploration of field recordings translated into abstract constructs.


into abstraction | nuances – extended video remix | an abstract thought becomes reality


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Nuances, the extended video remix is a further working towards the abstract in form and complexity. Each element of the video is explored through various micro-tonal nuances via add-on effects. Through this process, I am gaining insight into the various visual options I have via the software and how to implement them to create a visual cohesive construct. The variations seem infinite indeed. Again I am using both my own film and stock film together. Musically I am continuing the theme of electronic ambience, through the use of sound samples, field recordings and piano phases. As I explore the makings of sound for my films, I will be utilizing various sound effects and recording techniques in the process. Slowly things will evolve, as the learning curve for both the visual and aural elements are investigated, manipulated and constructed.


your world beginning | there’s never a dream i need to follow . video remix . piano and waterfalls pt 2 . day 10


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2014 is coming to a close. The major theme has been the two video series entitled “Your World Disappearing” and “Your World Beginning”. I initially created the two series as separate entities, however they have morphed into the same conceptual idea i.e. our lives and the experiences within it are simultaneously disappearing and beginning again and again. There is a merging of the sustainability of the mundane and the wishful aspirations of dreams and a better life. As I worked through the series this year, there was a lot of emotional ambiguity. I have tried to explore the comings and goings of my daily life, and put it into a perspective that negates anything more than what exists in the present moment. However, I can get lost in dreams and desires, the past and memories; believing that there is something significant there. So perhaps the thing that I have discovered is that there is no real disappearing of things or beginning of things just now. The present, mundane, and wishful dreams … inside my head.

Technically the film is a product of several excursions into the process of filming life at home and out in nature. Again, I have used footage from my recent hike along the Graveyard Fields’ trail in North Carolina. Upon reaching the top where the Upper Falls is located, I treaded out among the rocks. I then filmed using a macro (zoom in) setting, the pulsating flow of the falls. It gives the film a lot of its movement in an abstract form. I combined this movement with spatial and ethereal forms as well; fusing the two elements to further the sense of abstraction. These two forms are juxtaposed by the three ‘Transcending the mundane’ clips of life at home; repairing my bike, feeding the cat, and making pasta. The soundtrack continues the theme of “Piano and Waterfalls”. I used samples of field recordings and sublime piano phases to produce a rather delineated and ambiguous sense of being in the moment.


your world beginning | piano and waterfalls – day 8

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The video “Piano and Waterfalls” continues the series “Your World Beginning”. It is an exploration of organic nostalgia i.e. a reflection of the beautiful times and places gone by. “Piano and Waterfalls” was filmed while hiking the Graveyard Fields trail to the Lower and Upper Falls located in the Balsam Mountain range in Western North Carolina. This film is of the Lower Falls which one arrives first after a short hike through the barren fields (a fire burned a large segment of the mountain range in the early 1900’s). Then the trail continues on with a more difficult hike to the Upper Falls. I shot various short segments along the way, which I will feature in a number of parts.

This video is also the first film I have produced using new software. My computer upgraded (without my consent I must say) to Windows 8.1 leaving me with an incapable AVID Studio. I loved working with AVID. And after nearly two years of using the software, I was really beginning to fine tune my use of it. I tried without success to find and install patches that would enable me to continue to use it with Windows 8.1, but with no positive results. So I just purchased the Sony Movie Studio Suite. And it is a learning curve all over again. My goal is to continue to produce quality videos that mirror the progression of my previous work. With this first attempt, I am discovering that there are some questions to the quality of the final video production as an uploaded internet movie. Formatting is a key. Especially when I am using my own video footage. This is a technical challenge, which I hope to conquer in order to create the most visually pleasing and technically diverse films possible.


your world beginning | a history before now


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Day 6 in the “Your World Beginning” series is entitled “A History Before Now.” This film has a more ambient feel to it than the previous “A Life of Contradictions and Disappearing Things. It is sparse in its visual content, while imploring some elements of poetic prose inspired by a fellow poet. It continues the theme of the exploration of daily life, with hints of ambiguity and historical musings as abstraction. Initially, when I created this series, I wanted it to be a distinct leap from my previous series entitled “Your World Disappearing,” giving birth to a new beginning. However, the emotional content that fueled the “Disappearing” series has slowly found its way into this series as well: ‘Everything changes except a persistent memory.’ To some degree, although everything is in constant flux–giving way to things disappearing and beginning simultaneously, there is an ambiguity and mundane existence to it all.


your world beginning | a life of contradictions and disappearing things – day 5


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Day – 5 in the “Your World Disappearing” series brings us into a life of contradictions and disappearing things. Filmed in part in Asheville, NC, the film examines isolation, entropy, conflicting realities, and reflection. Multiple layers of contrasting elements explore our ambiguities as to what is real and what is an illusion: Life in all its complexity has multiple paths, roads, objectives and choices.


your world beginning | every artistic moment has its place – day 4


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As we move forward in our creative process, we sometimes travel back on the unending edge of everything, endure a storm or two, exist in solitude, and find that every artistic moment has its place.


your world beginning | into the gathering of dreams – day 3


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“Into the Gathering of Dreams – Day 3”, continues my series “Your World Beginning”, which explores the fusion of past, present, and future through the lens of daily life, dreams, and aspirations; beautiful times gone by, transcending the mundane, and an unknown future. The series is an attempt to capture the essence of being in the present moment, while simultaneously reliving moments from the past and dreaming of the future: Into the gathering of dreams.

The central filming in the video is from an afternoon biking at the Forks Area Trail System (FATS) in South Carolina, located on the border of South Carolina and Georgia. The filming of the biking was produced in 2010. The system consists of four machine-made trails, each approximately 6 miles in length. They are fast and free-flowing, making for a wonderful biking experience. Located in the midlands of South Carolina, the trails themselves are not as intimidating as the mountain trails located in North Carolina and are a joy to ride.

“Into the Gathering of Dreams” combines different elements, each having its own moment in time and space. I recently watched again, a documentary on the opera “Einstein on the Beach” by Robert Wilson and Phillip Glass. I had the pleasure of seeing this 4 hour opera in 1984 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. I mention this because the main concept was how time and space interacts with objects, people and places. Place a familiar object in an unfamiliar place and you create a new reality. Surreal, beautiful, conflicting, or contrasting, yet a reality unto itself. Part of my process as a digital artist is to reinvent and remix these “realities”. The digital medium and digital process itself, provides a beautiful, infinite and creative end to this objective. And it is also my objective through the process to infuse an emotional integrity, influenced by the experiences we all share. To touch on something that is universal.


your world beginning | drifting into everything – day 2 : video art HD


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The fourth short film in the “Your World Beginning” series, again explores the connection between our relationship with our memories, dreams, and everyday life. The series is my attempt to delve deeper into those moments when we are living through the patterns of life that we have created for ourselves, while simultaneously feeling the ambiguity and lightness of our dreams and aspirations.

In composing the music, I am using sound samples to create a layered sonic ambience, with hints of melody and tonality. In the series, organic sounds and industrial technological sounds merge to create dreamlike structures to enrich the imagination and supplement the visual composition.