Throwback Friday #20 La création du monde (2013)


Last Friday, I featured a bunch of digital speed paintings created in response to Darius Milhaud’s ballet, La création du monde (1923), which was the first stage in a creative process wherein an entire community of creatives were challenged to visualise Milhaud’s jazz-inspired ballet. The next stage was using the resulting imagery to create an animation to be projected in live-synchronisation with orchestral performances of La création du monde (facilitated by Keith Burden, whose work with audio-visual installations and projection-mapping is highlighted here).

The not-inconsiderable job of re-working a selection of the original synesthetic paintings into an uninterrupted sequence of abstract animations fell to Tom Beg and Jordan Buckner, who took the paintings we’d created and gave them dynamism, character and energy, pushing the music back though the imagery it had inspired in our collective imagination.

Come the premiere of the animation, Tom, Jordan, Keith and myself were all stuck behind the screen onto which the animation was being projected while, in front of it, the orchestra performed, so we couldn’t see the audience’s faces as the film played out – but the moment of hush, followed by enthusiastic applause, confirmed something rather magical had taken place – a transportive synthesis of sight and sound.



When The Tides Went Down


Back in the early Summer of 2019, I was invited by friend and filmmaker, Jordan Buckner, to produce his short animated film, When The Tides Went Down, for Screen South and the BBC. Jordan and I have worked together previously on the live-synchronisation animations La creation du monde (2013) and Red & The Kingdom Of Sound (2017) for ACT and ONE respectively, and Jordan’s //_sleeper for the BFI.

When When The Tides Went Down is broadcast on BBC4 on Sunday night at 10.55pm as part of a showcase of new animation by young directors, it will no doubt strike a peculiarly chilling note for audiences in light of our current circumstances. While Jordan’s haunting vision of a ruined England speaks to some unspecified extinction event triggered by climate change, it makes for unsettling viewing as we sit inside our houses contemplating the far-reaching effects of COVID19.

Filmmakers have been drawn time and again to imagining the end-of-days. When The Tides Went Down is an elegiac and ambiguous addition to the genre. Watching Jordan’s film again I was drawn to sound designer Nainita Desai’s use of the plaintive cry of the curlew; I was reminded how bird song has quickly become a key motif of our present predicament, how bird song has heightened our sensitivity to the emptiness of our streets and encourages us, however queasily, to imagine the peacefulness of a world without us.

When The Tides Went Down / BBC4 / Sunday 26th April / 10.55pm