PROPOSITION FOR THE CO-INCIDENCE FESTIVAL 2019
Nina de Vroome
WORK IN PROGRESS
Currently I am working on a new film on bees and beekeeping. This summer I was a resident at the Art Center Slovenia to research local beekeeping practices. I filmed foraging bees, visited beekeepers during their work and read in between the German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk, who in his work Spheres contemplates on the ‘space-making’ practices of humans and how the creation of globes in the form of secluded communities are the basis of society. Meanwhile, Bruno Latour argues for an ethnography that denies a hierarchical appreciation of knowledge and technology, leveling so called “modern” and “primitive” societies. I visited the traditional beehive painter Anja Bunderla, who continues the tradition of hundreds of years of painting the front of the beehive to protect the bees, and to tell stories connected to the paintings. Families would sit looking at the beehive as they would later gather around the television. The traditions linked to bees map out the history of relating to complex systems that can never be fully understood. The bee society works on many different levels, and even them tell each other stories. They perform a buzzing 8-form dance that indicates a location in the vicinity where valuable nectar can be found.
Musical interpretation by Jordan Dykstra
During my residency I was fascinated by the sounds they make, all resonating to the same frequency. In a Slovene bee-house there are many different colonies piled up next to each other, that can be accessed via a small door, insulated with newspaper. Behind each door we hear a different bee-orchestra.
Stereo sound-edit made with recordings around a bee-house in Prekmurje region.
Nina de Vroome (1989) makes films, sound recordings and collages. Since graduating from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Ghent, she has worked as a filmmaker and engaged in collaborations as a sound engineer and editor. She is a member of the Sabzian collective, developing a collection of online reflections on cinema. As a teacher she is involved in various educational projects.
In A Sea Change (2016) that was premiered at Visions du Réel in 2016, I say: “It is difficult to look and to see, in the same moment.” While I am making the film, I am learning about the subject of the film and at the same time learning to put these new experiences and thoughts into images, sounds and words. Making a film is a mental process of incorporating a small part of an insurmountable reality and turning it into a new perspective.
The aspect that links the films I made is the view on the relation that people have with the world that surrounds them, which results in different ways of mastering or controlling their environment. A Sea Change shows there are many ways of approaching the sea. Different ways of trying to grasp this austere but enchanting space, by observing it out of necessity like the fishermen, or studying it out of fascination like artists. There is the impossibility to master the sea; the artist will never capture the sea since it’s face is always changing. And when fish populations collapse it is impossible to say that we conquered the sea. When we fight nature, eventually we lose, because we are part of it ourselves.
A Sea Change is a portrait of the sea including different viewpoints on the sea, from the fishermen, a biologist, artists and my own ideas of the sea as a filmmaker. The relation between knowledge and poetry is captivating me.
In my most recent film A Dog’s Luck (2018), several dogs are being trained as patrol dogs. Their owners teach them the choreographies of police work: biting and letting go, following and staying, always on their owner’s command. Longingly gazing upwards, the dogs seem intimately connected with their owners. They are tamed and domesticated; their life is directed by humans. At the same time they are always the elusive other. A gap divides humans and animals, and from the other side these dogs see us.
I would like to propose a sound and film workshop that can be shared with a number of people. The workshop will evolve in two stages. First we go out in the city with video camera’s and film choreographies of textures and surfaces. Focussing on rhythms of bars, the tonality of stripes, the punctures of bolts, the roundness of bells, etc. that form a musical ‘gesture’. Then the images will serve as a ‘musical notation’ for sound recordings with (contact)microphones. By listening to how objects sound when you record them from a distance, from up close or when caressing them with the microphone, we try to find the sound that corresponds with the filmed ‘notation’. We can search for sounds that convey the intention of the visual image without necessarily looking for the same material: often objects have an unexpected musicality, are sounding different than they look. It is about linking surfaces and sounds that have their own specificity and allowing a different reading of the materiality when letting go of the synchronicity of the object and the sound it produces.
In 2013 I made the film Waves in which I researched the role of sound in the perception of spaces and the way it shapes the relation we have with the outside world, on the level of the personal and intimate and on the level of the public space and the common. Inspired by the writings of R. Murray Schaefer and David Toop it is an audio-visual essay on the sound-scape of our world. I would like to attract your attention to a short fragment starting at 12:09 minutes. Here you can find an example of how the way of working I mentioned could look like.