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 Lost 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 to 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.