Open Source 3.1 July 20th, 2018

by John Clement

The Open Source project has been an annual collaborative production project initiated by Ed Video, and is now in the third year. More info about the project can be found here. The theme of this Open Source project is “to achieve harmony”. It is up to each contributor to determine their own interpretation of that theme.

John Clement was the first participant to contribute to the project. John's video can be viewed below.

Two things I got from Wikipedia on harmony in music: 

  1. in jazz, chords (notes in harmony) are augmented with tensions, dissonances, and 
  2. other cultures have their own ideas about harmony (and what makes a musical scale). 

So I dumped my first ideas on the music (really liked the organ) and went looking for something "other" on the Internet Archives. I found the Enka music, read about it (that works for me), and auditioned more than a dozen tracks. 

I fell in love with the instrumentation on the “Oyako Funauta" track -- a mix of traditional and non-traditional -- but mostly because it was the only one that had a female-male duet. 

The piece was recorded in 1955 so I went looking for anything vaguely North American or

European with dancing in it from the 40s-50s. 

I screened a lot of footage and selected 30 clips of various lengths that had possible editable bits.

Inspired by the music and raw footage, the tacky-retro Joe-Albers-Harmony-Night-Club title was the first thing I built.  I have no excuse for overlaying Josef Albers' color theory on the black & white footage except the devil made me do it (& there was an app for it -- of course there was). 

I was able to generate more than 300 color swatches with two thumb taps every few seconds which I imported into Premiere and animated. I edited the music down from 3:04 to 1:44 for time and let the female vocal predominate. The music remains in harmony on its own terms but

the visuals go in and out of sync/harmony rhythmically and otherwise on purpose (tension, dissonance).  

I look forward to Ed Video's Play Propositions and Open Sources as a chance to riff it off, improvise and have fun, and maybe learn something new.

- John Clement