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

Music

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.


your world beginning | catalogs, maps, and memories – final day

your world beginning | catalogs, maps, and memories – final day.


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 | all the days are long | a we’ve come so far remix | a place of subtle nuance


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In life it seems, at times, that all the days are long. Caught in-between work, play, dreams, and aspirations. Those days can take the form of too many hours worked, too many hours away from home and loved ones, or too many memories and missed opportunities–taxing, struggling, pushing forward day after day. Sometimes we get a moment of reprieve; a day at the beach, a solitary place in time and space, the joining together of friends, family, and loved ones, or a beautiful hike on the summit of a mountain. Subtle nuances all converging in daily life, testing our resolve, our purpose, or giving pleasure and peace to our efforts.


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.


into abstraction | nuances


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This is the first film of 2015 in my new series entitled: “Into Abstraction”. The piece is called “Nuances”. It is a short multi-layered video and electronic soundscapes. As the series implies, the idea is to progress towards a state of abstraction both psychologically and visually: An inward emotional journey; full of delineated thoughts, complex constructs and fused memories. Although this piece contains figurative images and landscapes, it is the nuances of the film that contain elements of the abstract. I hope to slowly evolve through the series to a more definitive state of abstraction. It is true that I often merge, both surrealism and the abstract to create my visual themes. I also will be experimenting to the best of my ability to create beautiful and challenging electronic soundscapes, full of sampled ambient drone, field recordings, glitch/IDM, and thematic sounds.


your world beginning | catalogs, maps, and memories – final day


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This is the final video in my 2014 series Your World Disappearing and Your World Beginning. It explores past artistic influences and reflects on the creative process as well. In 2015, I will be starting a series titled “Into Abstraction”. I have not completely thought out the direction of this new series. It may in some form be a continuation of the 2014 series or a new direction with an emphasis on the abstraction of imagery and sound. I want to explore and utilize visually, the micro-tonal effects of the new video software I just purchased. And musically, I want to produce a more distinct electronic sound from my own remixing and editing of sound samples. And again, in addition to the new video software, I will be using a new music editing program to produce the music. This process will be a challenge indeed, and a learning curve over time.


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 | maps, mountains, and trails – day 7


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Day 7 finds “Your World Beginning”, on the trail to the summit of Waterrock Knob. In search of a transitional ambience of Fall colors, fog, and rain. This is an incredible location here at the summit. There is always a constant or intermittent wind blowing. The clouds shift quickly above, or as today, the fog can be seen everywhere.

Waterrock Knob is a mountain peak in the state of North Carolina. It is the highest peak in the Plott Balsams and is the 16th highest mountain in the Eastern United States. It is the 15th highest of the 40 mountains in North Carolina over 6000 feet.

The mountain is split by both Haywood and Jackson counties in the western part of the state. It is located in the Plott Balsams mountain chain between the Great Smoky Mountains and the Great Balsam Mountains. The mountain’s summit is located within the Blue Ridge Parkway National Park Service unit.

The mountain is a popular destination with tourists and amateur hikers as it is easily accessible from the Parkway. A visitors center is located near its summit and a hiking trail leads to its top. The hiking trail and visitors center are manned and maintained by the National Park Service, part of the United States Department of the Interior.


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 | 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.


your world beginning | transcending the mundane – day 1 – video art HD


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On the edge of everything beginning … the further away we are, the closer the moment. Waking, dreaming and making pasta.


traveling without moving | your world beginning – video art HD


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“Traveling Without Moving,” is the bridge between the past and the future i.e. “Your World Disappearing” and “Your World Beginning.” A video self-portrait that is a visual journey of memories, delineated thoughts, dreams and aspirations. There is a slight contradiction at work here. The body is in motion in time, and the mind is still; the painful past and uncertain future struggle against the stillness of being present in this time and space i.e. traveling in the present moment.


we can never go out and play | your world disappearing | HD video art

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Recently I had the opportunity to view a documentary by German filmmaker Werner Herzog entitled “From One Second To The Next.” The subject was texting and driving, and the effect it had on several individuals, including victims, family members, perpetrators, and law enforcement. While watching the film I could feel the emotional pain of all involved.

Texting and driving is a senseless act, and within a moment of lapse concentration can produce tragic results: Loved ones lost, lives ruined.

My video entitled “We Can Never Go Out And Play” was influenced by one family and one child named Xavier featured in the film. X-Man was his nickname. He was struck by a distracted driver texting while he crossed the street with his older sister. She says, “One moment he was holding my hand and the next moment he was gone”. His mother, riddled with pain and sorrow explained his massive injuries. Including paralysis and respiratory injuries requiring constant connection to ventilators to breathe.

What caught my attention, and what was the impetus for my film, was her stating that the most painful thing for her was not being able to say … “go out and play”. She sat there, her eyes focused on the lens of the camera, and repeated that this simple gesture of love, in saying, “go out and play,” would be lost forever.

My film work usually comes from a place of the abstract. My series entitled “Your World Disappearing” explores ambiguity, magic and lost, isolation, and endings. In the series I am imploring, in the abstract, environmental landscapes and organic forms to convey these existential concepts and personal entropy.

Because I see things in the abstract when revealing my emotional state there may appear to be a disconnect between what the viewer is seeing and my personal objective. A perfect example is this series, and this video piece in particular. All my work is created concurrently with how I am feeling emotionally. Presently, I am feeling a sense of separation from a loved one, and from my own aspirations and intentions. And most notably my place in this world. Like the wind blowing fiercely in an atomic storm and tree branches succumbing to the will of the unknown, I find my sense of self searching for its own survival.


form and void | your world disappearing | video art

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My fifth video “Form and Void”, in my short film series entitled “Your World Disappearing” continues the exploration of ambiguity, magic and lost, and on the edge of everything ending. Again, I am using film that I shot from various locales such as the shore, mountains, and forest combined with some sampled imagery to bring this series into an elemental sense of organic ambiance. I composed the music from samples and each piece is constructed to give the feeling of alienation, detachment and a bittersweet wonderment.


experiment: data complex 8 | a world floating by for you and i | video art

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“A World floating By For You and I” is an expression of ambiguity in how we exist within the world around us.


music for backgrounds | sound artist chihei hatakeyama

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Chihei Hatakeyama is one of my favorite ambient sound designers. He weaves beautiful tonal soundscapes for enriching the creative process and for meditative reflection.


Images For HD Video: Sometimes In The Waking The Reality Is More Pressing Than The Dream

There are times when I have a visual dream. In the waking. A collage of kinetic images. And as painful as it may sometimes be, I can but only love … living my art; finding fuel for it in the most unlikely places …

a new day …

This piece is an exploration of the moment when waking from a dream. The dream persists, but so does the realities of life:  Our personal journey. As they intrude. Crash. Collide. And take us for a ride along the highway of uncertainty. I think it is here, in this moment, that we can rise from our slumber with our greatest fear or with our greatest hope. As we face the day, with our portfolio of experiences, memories, and designs, we can, with internal intent and wisdom, begin our search for a better tomorrow.

http://youtu.be/58Nwb7HmbLQ  –  Sometimes In the Waking the Reality Is More Pressing Than the Dream 3:10; music by Nine Inch Nails


Images For HD Video: The Night Outside Your Dream (A Blue Moment Remix)

Second in the series of “chance” recordings …

http://youtu.be/Wdrl6O_H1uE   –  Copyright 2012  Walter W Smith

the night

- blue

with restless dreams

– isolated

in scattered refuge

in sudden refrain

 – through the darkest storm

“I think we dream so we don’t have to be apart so long. If we’re in each other’s dreams, we can be together all the time.” – Calvin & Hobbs


Music From India – Hazrat Inayat Khan

Music from India – Hazrat Inayat Khan. North Indian classical music.

World Music - the Music Journey

Hazrat Inayat Khan (Urdu: عنایت خان ) (July 5, 1882 – February 5, 1927) was the founder of The Sufi Order in the West in 1914 (London) and teacher of Universal Sufism. He initially came to the West as a Northern Indian classical musician, having received the honorific “Tansen” from the Nizam of Hyderabad, but he soon turned to the introduction and transmission of Sufi thought and practice. Later, in 1923, the Sufi Order of the London period was dissolved into a new organization, formed under Swiss law, called the “International Sufi Movement”. His message of divine unity (Tawhid) focused on the themes of love, harmony and beauty. He taught that blind adherence to any book rendered religion void of spirit. Branches of Inayat Khan’s movement can be found in the Netherlands, France, England, Germany, the United States, Canada, Russia and Australia. ( Wiki )

 

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Weekly Movie-Making Moments In Film: HBO’s Girls and the Video by Robyn – Dancing On My Own

A moment to enjoy a little TV, finding creativity in the work of others….

So I am watching the third episode of HBO’s really cool new hit show “Girls”. During the ending credits, the song showcased is “Dancing On My Own” by Robyn. Okay, I don’t know if I am in the know or not (too much ambient electronic music) but I had never heard of Robyn prior to this song. Where’s my MTV when I really need it? But I digress, this song was way too cool. And when I watched the video, I was totally caught up in the strong, dynamic visual moves of her dancing and the editing with the live club dance scenes. And have you ever considered how interesting it is, when watching a rather good show or movie, the song or songs, during the ending credits can make all the difference? It keeps the mood going–bringing back the emotional pulse of the film. Last year, I was very much into HBO’s “Making It In America” and there was an episode that featured a group of the show’s characters biking after a roof-top party. Through the streets of New York City they trekked—at night. Now that is the way you live in the city. Which reminds me … I miss Philadelphia, the painting parties with artists and the late midnight runs with my boyz Trash (10 miles in 1hr 45 mins, in our twenties). But again I digress. At the end of the show the producers came up with another hip song to keep the flow. The song was “Midnight City” by M83. Pulsating, hip, cool. And yes this band I had heard of before (“Too Late from the CD Saturdays = Youth).

Music can make any art form feel prolific and elevate its content and mood….

I really like the programming on HBO. Everyone I am sure is familiar with their big hit “Game of Thrones” but I really do suggest you give “Girls” a look. And although “Making It In America” is not currently available on HBO demand, you certainly can get a hold of it.

Enjoy the video clips….

Girls – Trailer

http://tv.yahoo.com/girls/show/47563/videos/28822433

Robyn ‘s – Dancing On My Own

http://youtu.be/CcNo07Xp8aQ

M83’s – Midnight City Live on Carson Daly

http://youtu.be/q3w9mfk7D9c


Music For Looking Back: Flashing Lights Have Ended Now – Foxes In Fiction

Take a look at old photographs and remember the echoes of….

Foxes In Fiction

http://youtu.be/1ihAE-lDCqU – Flashing Lights Have Ended Now by Foxes In Fiction

Foxes In Fiction

The other evening I was downloading some electronic, ambient and IDM music to burn onto a CD. I usually listen to Fluid Radio on Itunes for the best of Experimental Frequencies, Drone, glitch, Neo-Classical, Computer and Abstract recordings. I had come across Foxes In Fiction several times, and noted them on my to buy list. They are a mixed bag of sorts i.e. they construct both ambient and pop music. I really connected with this tune “Flashing Lights Have Ended Now”, because of its steady beat, heavy reverb, echo, and dreamlike guitar/lyrics. It seemed to inhabit the small garage, small club feeling, I knew so well. A retro cool. A journey back to comic books.  High school basement Jams. Robert Fripp and his Frippertronics concert at the University of Pennsylvania circa 1984. Downtown Philly. Emerald City. L7 in NYC. An early morning dive after partying all night … discovering the descent … and the feeling of looking through some old photographs … alone.


Music For Parks And City Streets (A Day Like No Other Remix)

The city series….

Sitting by the river, standing on the corner, music for parks and city streets

The moments we find time standing still…

Music is energy …

It captures the imagination and sets the soul on fire. It frees our thoughts and liberates our dreams. It illuminates the night stars and sets the day in motion.

Music is lucid …

We dream to music. We create to music. We make love to music. It touches and caresses. It embraces our intimate space.

Music is you and I …

It gathers the crowd on a beautiful day. It sings the songs our hearts have found. It teaches and consoles. It soothes our spirit at birth and death.

Music is humanity … restored.

For you and I it was a day like no other as we walked together … dreaming and listening….

In celebration of a summer day to come. A picnic with the band The Januaries and their song Chocolate and Strawberries…

http://youtu.be/BXIc-u0rr9c