Film: "Doors" by Milton Cohen
Slides: Milton Cohen, Leo Smit
Music: Richard Trythall
Verse consists of a 40 minute black and white film - Doors, made in 1968 in Italy by the American visual artist, Milton Cohen, a set of 36 color slides, and a 50 minute stereo tape composition which was completed in 1971. These are performed in strict synchronization beginning with a 10 minute prelude of slide projections and tape music.
The title, Verse, reflects both the large scale modular construction of the central film and the internal organization of these modules through clearly defined, periodic patterns of visual rhythms and gestures. In a larger sense as well, the title Verse is intended to suggest the basic poetic intent to observe and organize experience in a rhythmic manner. This experience is not, of course, repossessed through words, but rather directly though the manipulation of the sights and sounds which are at the origin of experience itself.
The sound material, like the visual images, is taken primarily from everyday sources - recordings of speech, music and environmental sounds. Though the subsequent technical manipulations of these sounds and images may carry them considerably distant from their origins and from each other, their initial derivation from similar sources promotes a unified perception.
The overall musical shape of Verse relates to the structure of the film - and the play of images presented through this structure - in much the same way that the musical shape of a song is related to the poetical structure of its text. In effect, the sound provides an environment for the image while articulating and phrasing the film's movement, acting as a "consciousness" to the visual material, while the images themselves give visible surface to the sound.
Finally, as in poetry, here too the manipulation of experience creates a new experience - an endless narrative of the moment which is dependent exclusively upon the properties of the expressive medium. Visual and aural energies are integrated so that visual gestures may be completed by sound, aural textures may become visible, visual rhythms may modulate sustained sound and vice versa.The total experience becomes a resultant of the mutual inflections and qualifications of both stimuli.
Verse excerpt: Mp3 (1 MB)