DRAWING LIFE by fred hatt


The Landscape in Motion

Filed under: Video: Natural Phenomena — Tags: , , — fred @ 07:54

August from Fred Hatt on Vimeo.

Click on the video to watch in HD on Vimeo.

I spent last week visiting my brother in Western Massachusetts.  He lives in a rural area surrounded by forests and wetlands.  I was struck by the sound environment there.  Far from highways and flight paths, it was clean of the technological noises that are constant in my usual urban setting, but it was hardly quiet.  With my eyes closed I could hear the densely woven tapestry of sound surrounding me in omnidirectional space:  crickets and cicadas, birds and bees and frogs, and the constant burbling of a stream, shallow from the late summer drought.

Still from "August", 2010, video by Fred Hatt

I wanted to take a sample of this sound to bring with me to the city.  The only audio recording device I had with me was a small camcorder with a reasonably good microphone, but no tripod.  So I set the camcorder down on various flat rocks and let it run for two or three minutes each in a variety of locations.  In the bright sunlight I could hardly see what kind of images I was recording.

When I had the chance to play back my recordings, I was struck by the images I had captured, almost without thinking of it.  The view of the natural environment was intimate, up close and from ground level, a frog’s eye view.  Every scene was filled with motion, the constant fluctuation of wind, light, water, and life in all its forms.  It was a beautiful portrait of teeming Gaia in late summer, simultaneously harmonious and chaotic, serene and tempestuous.

Still from "August", 2010, video by Fred Hatt

The five minute edit presented here is a landscape picture in sound and motion.  There are no characters, no events, no ideas.  This absolutely minimal way of using video highlights its richness as a medium for capturing the texture and energy of the natural world, a little love letter to Mother Earth in the technology of our time.  Watch it in HD, and with headphones if possible.

For another of my experiments in minimalist video, depicting a different setting and season, see “November”.

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