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

Video

the endless distance outside my window | dream two (2)

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I am immersed in a short film series entitled “Outside My Window | Dreams.” This is actually the second video in the series as I rework the first film. I cannot think of much to say about the series or this film at this moment. I just wanted to post it. I hope you, my readers, enjoy the shorter format and embrace the art.


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 | form and void


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The exploration of abstract forms and memory attachments.


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 | 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 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.


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.


Video

give your falling tears to memories and songs | extended remix


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A remix of new and extended audio and visual material to further convey the expressive mood of ambiguity, magic and lost and the ending of things.


Video

give your falling tears to memories and songs | your world disappearing


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This is the seventh video in “Your World Disappearing” series. It is a again, a short film reflecting on the magic and lost of relationships, and our place in the world. Seemingly things are disappearing. I have completed an extended remix version of this video and will feature it in my next post.


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.


the further away we are, the closer we are apart | your world disappearing | HD video art


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The fourth video in the “Your World Disappearing” series. A series that reflects on loss and an approaching end of everything.


give your tears to time | your world disappearing – video art

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He wrote
in fervent oscillation;
through the center that does not hold …

fingers bloodied and broken
the painful past
and uncertain future,
forged together
in this present moment,

penned with tears given to time
and his world disappearing …

My second video in my short film series under the title “Your World Disappearing”. Exploring ambiguity, and emotional constructs through the lens of ambient minimalism fused with organic and natural elements. “Through art I feel like subtracting”.


your world disappearing | high definition video art

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A short film of ambient minimalism. Exploring the theme of “through art I feel like subtracting” i.e. Memories fading, dreams ending and your world disappearing.
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Image

experiment: data complex 10 | the world in recollection (a returning place remix) | video art HD

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“The World In Recollection” will be the last in my featured series of the emerging world concept. I am not sure where I will venture into next with video, but I hope to feature more of my own experimental imagery.


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.