Globus Hystericus

Revisiting and re-examining Scratch video methodologies within a visual music practice collaboration, this work derives from a body of work which originally featured in the screenings of the 1980s British Scratch Video Art movement. In this piece, off-air footage, initially edited in 1986 to the soundtrack Hypnotised by Mark Stewart, was re-worked and re-edited using digital non-linear editing equipment in 2007, when the original analogue footage was finally digitized. Subsequently, this edit has been re-worked in conjunction with a whole new electroacoustic score by Tim Howle. The resultant work explores the visual music potentials of Scratch video that Andy Birtwistle addresses in his book, Cinesonica. The politically driven themes of much Scratch work are also engaged here, the title intended to allude to global hysteria in financial systems, as footage from the stock-market crash of 1929 is intercut with scenes of crowds from a 1980s Open University programme examining mass hysteria.

Tim Howle has written about the work noting that the principles of acousmatic music are extended to incorporate parallel ideas found in video art. By taking these ideas beyond diegetic/non-diegetic and simple underpinning or reinforcement, the sounds are imbued with multiple meanings. Therefore, the piece exploits post-acousmatic possibilities. The primary objective of this investigation is to examine the creative relationships between visual and audio material in terms of hybridisation, the research seeks to establish an equitable, collaborative, approach typified by the ‘audio-visual contract’ (Chion 1994), where ‘source-recognition’ and other ‘dislocations’ become a series of creatively exploitable parameters regarding the relationship between untreated and treated and sounds and images.

Globus Hystericus was selected for publication, alongside supporting research statements and academic reviews, in the inaugural volume of the Australian peer-reviewed online journal Sightlines: Filmmaking in the Academy published by ASPERA (the Australian Screen Production, Education & Research Association) in November 2015. The supportive reviews articulate Scratch’s international and long-lasting impact, noting ‘this is an important work in the revisitation, and revitalisation, of the archive in this context for new and expanded audiences and screening spaces from the academy to the screen festivals/events and gallery installation potential. The politically motivated themes of the Scratch movement remain intact and are revisited in Globus Hystericus for the contemporary malaise of global financial inequity, excess and cycles of crisis.’

‘With its associated writing and ongoing development in live and pre-recorded forms of both text and audiovisual forms, this work, along with a groundswell of international interest and practice in this field, is definitely addressing the previous neglect of investigation into film and video art’s relation to sound and visual music rightly identified by the authors of the work.’

– Paul Fletcher, academic review of ‘Globus Hystericus’ for Sightlines journal.

screenings, presentations, performances

The Noises of Art: Audiovisual Practice in History, Theory and Culture conference convened by the School of Art, Aberystwyth University in collaboration with The Courtauld Institute of Art, London, and Aberystwyth Arts Centre, 4-6 September 2013.

Seeing Sound, practice led international research symposium, Bath Spa University, November 2013.

International Computer Music Conference and Sound and Music Computing Conference, University of Athens, Department of Informatics and Telecommunications, Athens, Greece, September 2014.

Sightlines: Filmmaking in the Academy Conference, RMIT Melbourne, Australia, November 2014.

MeCCSA (Media, Culture, and Communication Studies Association) Annual Conference, Northumbria University, January 2015.

The International Festival for Artistic Innovation, Leeds College of Music, March 2015

See Sound – Electric Audio Unit Concerts, Hvelvet, Sentralen, Oslo, November 2018.