The Grand Transparents

In recent years I have been developing a collection of audiovisual vignettes called The Grand Transparents, sometimes in collaboration with other artists. These pieces explore novel interactions, relationships and paradoxes between visual and auditory stimuli. I have already completed three of these video-sound-art pieces for video and fixed electronics (please see below), and am currently writing another one titled Pixel Streams, commissioned by violinist Roberto Alonso Trillo, Hong Kong Baptist University, and Vertixe Sonora as part of the 2020 New Music, New Paths call for works. 

Background information: 

In his Surrealist Manifesto, André Breton speculates about the existence of Grand Transparents: higher­ dimensional beings that are impossible to see or even conceptualize, but that nevertheless create disturbances in our world. Breton asks “Must these beings be convinced that they result from a mirage or must they be given a chance to show themselves?” 

My goal is to blur the lines between music, sound effects, noise, foley and dialogue. This project is meant to celebrate the immensity of the unknown, and explore new paradigms for controlling and manipulating the relationship between visual and auditory stimuli. Using theories of ecological listening (how our sense of hearing evolved primarily to interpret our environment), visual perception, and psychoacoustics, I am exploring various aesthetic and perceptual implications of manipulating the relationship between what we see and what we hear. My goal is to create unfamiliar ecosystems where unusual relationships, interactions and paradoxes are not only possible, but strangely commonplace. 

Each short is an independent audiovisual étude: some have clear narratives and obvious correlations between image, movement and sound, while others are highly abstract. By creating multiple modular pieces, I want to maximize my freedom to take risks in order to more thoroughly explore the interactions between visual and auditory perception, and experiment freely within this burgeoning multidisciplinary genre. Special thanks to Matt Gilbert for helping develop the initial concept of this project.

Macro

Video and sound by Gabriel Bolaños

“Macro” explores analogues between filming with a macro lens and recording with close-miking techniques. By zooming in on everyday objects and sounds, I sought to create a surreal ecosystem where things are simultaneously recognizable and unrecognizable.

Postales

Video and animation by Carolina Gonzalez Valencia, sound by Gabriel Bolaños

“Postales” is a collaboration with Carolina Gonzalez Valencia, and grew out of her creative work related to postcards. These four postales blur the line between still image and video, and explore the dichotomy of physical and emotional interior/exterior. All of the sounds are derived from Carolina’s reading of text that one might find on a postcard. It’s not necessary to understand the text, but it evokes homesickness, missing family, and sharing details of one’s day-to-day life with a loved one.

Crash Loop

Video and sound by Gabriel Bolaños

“Crash Loop” was inspired by the black and white crashtest.mov ubiquitous to Max/MSP Jitter video tutorials. The audio purposefully blurs the line between music and foley, and develops through very simple phasing and looping. This version is a short draft made with public-domain footage from NHTSA.