etv-HK_Rg is a collage made up of 7 videos taken at Reverenzgässlein, an alley in Basel near the Rhein, in which pianist Helga Karen was recorded practicing exercises to herself from the collection exploring_the_voice. at Music for Oneself, the event i created for my master’s recital at the Hochschule für Musik Basel, it was played on a laptop placed in the main corridor of floor -1 of the Jazzcampus of the Musik-Akademie Basel as one of the 5 “images” in which the notion of music for oneself was manifested, providing visitors with the opportunity of reflecting on what music for oneself could be. it was possible to listen to it with a pair of headphones that were connected to the laptop. the text below describes how the collage was made.
of all the recordings we made, 2- to 4-minute interpretations of exercises etv1, etv4-2, etv4-3, etv4-5, etv4-6, etv5-1, and etv5-2 (all shot in a single session in the afternoon of May 5, 2016), 4 videos, the interpretations of etv4-2, etv4-3, etv4-5, and etv5-1, were used fully from beginning to end; 2 videos, the interpretations of etv4-6 and etv5-2, had their beginnings trimmed; and 1 video, the interpretation of etv1, had both its beginning and end trimmed, so that only about 20 seconds of it were used.1 this was done for aesthetic considerations: the interpretations of etv4-6 and etv5-2 were trimmed to make them look as if they were extracts from longer recordings; and the interpretation of etv1 was trimmed because there were only about 20 seconds in the middle of the video during which Helga stood straight (the floor of the alley is slightly bent). the latter also had significant consequences for the overall structure of the collage, as it led me to decide to split all the videos into clips of 20 seconds, making this duration the collage’s pulse and creating a pool of 60 video clips of which 54 have the exact same duration (20 seconds) and only 6 do not.2
following this trimming process, i ordered the clips randomly according to the following rules:
- each clip can occur only once.
- 2 clips from the same video cannot be placed one after the other.
- 2 adjacent clips from the same video cannot be placed one after the other (in forward direction), even if there are other clips between them
- there is a 1 to 6 chance of having a 1000 ms to 8000 ms pause rather than a clip, as long as the total number of pauses in the whole video does not exceed 10.
in addition, because etv1 could occur only once, i decided to determine its position in advance and set it to be the 31st clip, that is, to be in the middle of the video, but slightly towards the end.
after watching the result, i made 5 changes:
- i switched clip 1 and clip 4 of etv4-5, because i wanted to start with a beginning of a video.
- i switched clip 5 of etv4-6 and clip 8 of etv5-2, because i did not want a clip of etv5-2 to follow a pause twice throughout the video.3
- i switched clip 5 of etv5-2 and clip 10 of etv4-3 to have etv5-2 once more towards the end, as all of its clips were already used in the first half of the video.
- i shortened clip 4 of etv4-3 to about 10 seconds to make the rhythm of the cuts slightly less regular
- i added 1 second to the 9th pause, because it seemed to me to be too short.
the timeline of the video is shown below (the changes are emphasized in red). note that all these changes, even though i can rationalize them, were based on what intuitively felt better to me, which contrasts the neutrality of the random process used for the initial ordering of the clips. moreover, the tension between intuition and randomness is also evident in the juxtaposition of the intuitive interpretations of the exercises and the randomness of the sounds of the alley (the birds, the door, the people around, etc.).
1 the end of etv5-2 was trimmed as well, but not on purpose: the camera just ran out of battery. (back)
2 the duration of each of these 6 clips (which are not always the last clips) ranges from 12 to slightly more than 20 seconds (i preferred not to use clips shorter than 1 second). the number of clips per video is between 8 and 12. (back)
3 on the other hand, this did not prevent me from letting etv4-2 and etv4-3 follow a pause twice, and etv4-5 follows a pause 3 times throughout the video. (back)