A quest into the unknown / Bryan Little
In the more than a hundred years since cinema's inception, the basic dynamic hasn't changed.
Whether you are in a cinema theater or at home on the couch watching a laptop, it is a passive experience, albeit one that can be incredibly powerful, entertaining and emotionally engaging.
As a filmmaker I am biased towards the medium considering it one of the most complex and layered of the art-forms.
At its heart cinema is a visceral experience with elements of sound, storytelling, music and concept.
It’s a well rounded medium and one that I have dedicated most of my life to crafting.
However, with emerging technologies and a sense of being only limited by our imaginations we must surely start sending tendrils of exploration into what cinema could become.
At the turn of the 20th century, a 'khoi-san bushman' invited a journalist to join him on a hunt for the sacred Eland Antelope, after the animal was brought down and honoured, the journalist asked if the clan would be pleased to know of their success. The San hunter looked at him curiously, "They already know. the fires are lit. they have heard the 'tapping'," he said, touching his heart. What he was conveying was the fact that the clan had a well developed ability of telepathy.
So in essence I can't help asking myself, if we (as illustrated in many of the 'first people' cultures) have had and lost these gifts in the past, then perhaps what we are trying to do with technology, like the internet, is to create a physical manifestation
of something we all knew. We as humans want to connect, whether with our friends, lovers, family, community or indeed our true selves. And if this new technology is a perhaps a manifestation of our deepest needs then perhaps it is even more important that culture makers assume some custodianship of how this technology could be used to serve us.
And so I have started on my quest,
I call it FutureFilm and I don't know where I am going yet. I am trying to find new ways to tell stories, new ways to be a filmmaker.
Influenced by a dinner conversation I had with the legendary filmmaker, Peter Greenaway, and other visionaries such as
Chris Milk and a mind altering experience in New York at Punchdrunk’s immersive theatre production Sleep No More...
I started my foray into the unknown by making a 'preparatory sketch' for a friend sylvan aztok's track Martian Jungle
The film titled Liggaam/Lughawe - (Body/Airport) is a kind of tuning fork, setting the tone, as a sort of compass to where I am hoping to explore...
* Liggaam / Lughawe - (Body/Airport) : Bryan Little 2014
A preparatory sketch exploring our ancient and intrinsic compulsion towards finding god.
In North Africa when the ritual dancers reach a fever, a moment of exultation,
those gathered in witness would chant the word 'allah' - a testimony to a glimpse of god.
Today we find this notion adapted in their northern neighbours of Spain,
where in a festival of celebration they will chant the word 'Ole'.
In their joy, they too find a glimpse of god.
Since time began, all over the world, men and woman reach out earnest minds and fingertips towards the unknown.
Our bodies are conduits through which hope, desire and fear are channeled and expressed.
We use our bodies for dance, exultation and ritual, we use our bodies to alter our world,
we use our bodies to pray, to dance, to fuck and to get fucked up. We use our bodies to love, to worship and to martyr.
Self immolation and transcendence of self. exultation and agony. We use our bodies to find purpose.
The psychonauts and yogi's, the metalheads, pcp heads, acid heads, the dread heads, the dancers and the singer,
the believer and the poet.
I salute you.
I followed Liggaam / Lughawe with the Immersive installation experience on Rhodes Drive in Cape Town:
*The Endemic Project - Bryan Little 2015
Immersive Installation experience on Rhodes drive, Cape Town South Africa.
A futurefilm experiment. Sound arranged by sylvan aztok
With the possible exception of the rat,
human's are now the most numerous mammal on earth...
perhaps with that power must come responsibility.
AS A MAMMAL:
"Using a tape recording,
my dad once called all the owls in the forest to gather around us,
their haunting calls echoing through the dark trees...
I will never forget the quiet beauty and magic of it,
there was a sort of communion between kingdoms,
albeit a dialogue facilitated by technology.
Will our love affair with technology find a communion with nature or alienate us further?"
AS A STORYTELLER:
"I am trying to find new ways to tell stories,
new ways to be a filmmaker.
In the hundred years since the technology has existed
the way we experience cinema hasn't changed.
This experiment is one of my first forays into what I call future film,
you won't see my path yet, neither can I,
but I feel it will be my El Dorado.
I am scouting along the arteries of lucid dreaming - it's a voyage of discovery.
When I get there I will have found you."
There are two elements to the project, one is visual - as you drive your headlights cause creatures seemingly painted out of light to glow in the dark, as you travel different species and scenes reveal themselves illuminated in the dark forest. The second element is a geo-tagged soundtrack, as you drive past the creatures different soundscapes made from the voices of the animals are triggered.
“You probably found yourself wondering whether your eyes were playing tricks on you
or if you were experiencing a moment of transcendental consciousness.”
I deliberately kept it very simple and only played with certain elements of 'traditional' cinema;
Remove the camera – place the audience into the experience.
Make it site specific – you have to be there.
Let the car’s motion be the camera and the road the element of time and narrative.
Another critical element which is built into the project is the notion of loss, when a creature in the road goes missing a lot of people get really upset, myself included, and I feel that this is appropriate, that people feel that loss, it makes the idea of species extinction a little less abstract.
As a lot of the featured endemic species are critically endangered - this is especially poignant.
“totally utterly inspired by this work..... it's like being in a fantasy world, yet realising at the same time that it our real world. I was almost breathless driving along Rhodes Drive the other night.... brought back feelings of anticipation and excitement that I have not had since I was a child. THank you thank you thank you for this outstanding installation. I cannot put words to the gratitude I feel ”
- Vanessa Thomas, Facebook
SELECT PRESS ARTICLES
Making the creatures in the river house studio
Signs pointing road users to geo-tagged soundtrack
Cape Dwarf Chameleon
a school of Galaxias
Galaxias close up
Orange breasted sunbird
Arum lily frog
Western leopard toad
Red Disa + its sole pollinator the Table Mountain pride butterfly
Table Mountain ghost frog
Table Mountain pride butterflies
The critically endangered geometric tortoise
15 - 15
not to a theatre or on your screen