Audiovisual gesture and spectromorphology: the Invalid Data W.E.S.T. project

Informa UK Limited
Publication Type:
Journal Article
International Journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media, 2022, pp. 1-14
Issue Date:
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In this article, we detail a project that seeks to expand the ways in which the concepts of gesture and spectromorphology can be understood and applied in audiovisual projects. We argue that understanding spectromorphology in visual domains requires consideration of the wavelengths of light that give us an image. In this project, the complex interaction between clouds and solar radiation becomes the medium for understanding this concept of visual spectra. Invalid Data W.E.S.T. is a collaboration between media artist Grayson Cooke, audio engineer Ian Stevenson, and the experimental improvising group Wilcox, Encarnacao, Swanton Trio (W.E.S.T.), comprising three Australian composer-performers: Felicity Wilcox (piano), John Encarnacao (guitar), and Lloyd Swanton (bass). In this project, a multi-camera recording of W.E.S.T. in studio performance is combined with Cooke’s exploration of creative uses of satellite data. Satellite images of clouds rendered using infrared light are intercut with in-depth, multi-camera footage of W.E.S.T. captured during improvisation. The resulting audiovisual meditation draws parallels between spontaneous artistic processes, collaborative creation, and environmental phenomena. In this article, we explore how concepts of gesture and spectromorphology shaped the conception, production and post-production phases of the project, and how these concepts can be used to enhance the production of audiovisual work.
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