Motion Etudes: Flight

Director – Stephen Dirkes; Stop Motion Photography – Tal Shpantzer; Costume/ Make up/ Animation – Masha Gvozdov; Dancer – Nadia Manuela Fischer; Time Lapse Footage – Peter Bill; Edit/Music – Stephen Dirkes; Improvised Bass Recorder – Alison Melville; Narrator – Roderick Glanville. NYC 2009

Comments from Stephen Dirkes:

This piece began over a year ago in Victoria, BC when Alison Melville invited me to compose a piece of music for her “Bird Project” series of music for recorder and flute. I managed to source several bird watching books and loved the strange and florid prose used to describe bird songs. I was able to record Roderick Glanville reading passages pertaining to the Hermit Thrush ( with laptop, in boat, on water ).

Back in NYC I began to play with abstractions and animations of bird images I scanned from various bird books and the muybridge animation stills.

Alison had recorded lots of improvised bits and pieces on the bass recorder ( my fav. instrument ) in Toronto, as per some of my requests . I came up with a piece of music unrelated in NYC and low-and-behold, the two elements fit together and I added in the narrator to the mix. Still working on the score to make it a nice performable piece…..

The first edit of those elements premiered at “Rabbithole Gallery” in Dumbo, October 2nd, 2008 – October 31st, 2008 as “Motion Etudes: Hermit Thrush”.

Additional elements were added to the 4 channel version presented here and the theme was expanded to “Flight”. I added several of Peter Bill’s digital and super 8mm film time lapses of clouds. Shot over a long period of time in the Czech Republic, Austria and the Western US, Peter’s timelapses are greatly informed by his study and career as a painter. Together with Tal Shpantzer ( photographer ), Nadia Manuela Fischer ( dancer ) and Masha Gvozdov ( costume/makeup/animation ), we created both live action and stop motion animations to create a winged figure in motion and a painted animation representing wind motion.

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