Cinesthesia is a new collaborative platform that produces live cinematic events, bringing film and live music together. Earlier in February, the organisation presented a sell-out launch event screening of George Méliès’s surreal and silent short film, A Trip To The Moon (1902) at Hackney Picturehouse. The renowned film, with input from Salvador Dalí, was set to a new improvised score performed live by experimental electronic musician Antwerp and accompanied by Project Mycelium and Gary Bridgewood. The event’s visuals came from Blue Marble.
The film, known for shocking scenes such as the slitting open of an eye, follows a group of astronomers (Members of the Astronomic Club) who travel to the moon in a cannon-propelled capsule. Here the actors, an ensemble cast of French theatrical performers, explore the Moon’s surface, escape from an underground group of “Selenites” and their King of the Moon – who explode into a puff of smoke on being struck by the astronomers’ umbrellas – and return to Earth having captured one of these lunar inhabitants. The 14 minute short was extremely popular at the time of its release, and after disappearing into obscurity in 1993 an original hand-coloured print was discovered and restored.
For the live event, the short film’s score was produced with sound recordings from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)’s vast library of sound samples including solar wind noises, rockets launching and radio transmissions on Soundcloud. Antwerp played with a selection of these sounds and, through improvisation and collaboration with other musicians, manipulated them to create a surreal soundscape to suit the film.
Next month, Cinesthesia will present its second live score screening: Alice in Wonderland (1903) and other Avant-Garde short silent films. For this one-off special screening, Antwerp will revisit the films, creating new experimental live scores using elements of ‘electroencephalography’; a hardware technique long-used to study epilepsy and sleep disorders. Improvising and collaborating with other musicians, Antwerp will pull the audience on a sonic journey Alice’s state of mind.
Cinesthesia: Alice in Wonderland (1903) and Other Shorts, Live Score Performed by Antwerp, 16 March, Hackney Picturehouse Attic, 270 Mare Street, London E8 1HE.
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