Project Title: The Song-Film: An exploration of the enfolding of song-making and first-person filmmaking
Supervisors: Dr Joanne Scott and Dr Alison Matthews
The Song-Film project is a practice-based and interdisciplinary exploration of the enfolding of song-making and first-person filmmaking. First-person ﬁlmmaking, as the theorist Alisa Lebow (2012, p. 1) explains, ‘is foremost about a mode of address: these ﬁlms speak from the articulated point of view of the ﬁlmmaker who readily acknowledges her subjective position’. In so doing, it is a form that can share ground with song-making in the use of this first-person address, the self-reflective writing that this address encourages and the recorded vocal performance of these reflections by the maker themselves. Despite this shared ground, instances of their enfolding – such as when Laurie Anderson moves her film’s narration, in Heart of a Dog (2015), from speech into song – are rare. An area of established song-film theory and practice therefore does not precede this project, which embraces the subjective necessity of a phenomenological perspective, using cycles of making, reflection and analysis to form a thorough communication of the making process. Practice-as-research is core to the project’s overall methodology, as insight into the song-film’s process must be found in ‘the feel of the action of the instrument’ (Nelson, 2013, p. 10), the instrument in this case being an interrelation of camera, laptop, microphone and voice. Nelson (2013)places this feelin relation to the notion of knowledge as more akin to a ‘knowing-doing’ action inherent to a practice that must therefore be at the core of its own enquiry (p.10). These approaches in turn inform practice methods that embrace the often enquiring and flexible form of first-person film that Rascaroli (2009) theorises, including song as one of many valid responses within the film-narrator’s voice. The exploration of the maker’s local landscapes has proved a productive means of allowing song and film to emerge together as enfolding responses to its uncontrollable conditions. These results are enabled by the improvisation, repetition and cycles of peripatetic making inherent to a diaristic process which itself encourages a non-hierarchical inclusion of material that can nurture multimedia and multidisciplinary outcomes such as song-film.
Anderson, L. (Director) (2015) Heart of A Dog [Film]. United States: Canal Street
Lebow, A. (2012). The Cinema of Me: The Self and Subjectivity in First Person Documentary. United States: Columbia University Press. Retrieved from: https://www.proquest.com
Nelson, R. (2013). Practice as Research in the Arts: Principles, Protocols, Pedagogies, Resistances. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan
Rascaroli, L. (2009). The Personal Camera: Subjective Cinema and The Essay Film. United Kingdom: Wallflower Press.
My name is Owen Davey (sometimes known as OD Davey for musical purposes) and I am a UK based writer, director and performer, working in song, film and the gallery. I have published music on Knives and Tomlab Records and have had video installations commissioned by HOME and MOSI. In 2014 I founded Video Strolls, a non-profit that curates art and film events that explore place and journeying, guest programming at Alchemy and Flatpack Festivals among others.
I am currently an AHRC North West Consortium funded and Disabled Students Allowance supported PhD researcher at the University of Salford, doing practice-based research into ‘The Enfoldment of Song and First Person Filmmaking‘.