Spencer Clarke Sound

Engineer and Editor, for Music and Post

Experimental Film - "A welcome diversion"

The premise of this film comes from the poem that sparked its creation, Dwelling by a Stream, by Liu Zongyuan:

I had so long been troubled by official hat and robe

That I am glad to be an exile here in this wild southland.

I am a neighbour now of planters and reapers.

I am a guest of the mountains and woods.

I plough in the morning, turning dewy grasses,

And at evening tie my fisher-boat, breaking the quiet stream.

Back and forth I go, scarcely meeting anyone,

And sing a long poem and gaze at the blue sky.

This poem resonated with me personally, as I had been spending far too much time indoors and studying during the week leading up to the filming of this piece. I wanted to shoot everything outdoors if possible, to give myself some time off to relax a bit. Getting outside to film was a uniquely relaxing experience, and I wanted to translate that feeling to the viewer. I chose music that would not agitate, nor excite, but was still intriguing enough to draw the viewer in. The repetitive nature of the piece is intentional; the poem itself depicts a lonely daily routine, and I wanted the piece to reflect that. That also explains why the piece was finished in black-and-white. There was nothing inherently special about the filming process; it was relaxing because I took the camera to a nearby stream, and just shot what I thought would work well. The shots down the brick pathway are placed to represent the single, straight path I walk in my everyday, and I think that will resonate with viewers because we have all felt monotonous at some point in our lives. The moments where the film snaps in-and-out of focus are meant to represent the sparks of clarity that occur when the mind is relaxed enough. This also can represent the viewers' state of mind when daydreaming. The snap into focus is a return to reality. Many of the shots in the film are timed to the underlying music, as I feel that intensifies the beats that the viewer sees, and helps them keep up with the ongoing imagery. When the viewers know to expect something to change on a beat, after the first few times, they become more aware of the beats, and are able to anticipate edits in the film, deepening their connection with the material, rather than becoming disoriented and lost in the changing frames.