While we can’t gather on the Walker hillside this August for our annual Sound for Silents program, we invite you to join us virtually as we share a mix of experimental films and new scores commissioned from local sound artists.
How to Watch
You can view Sound for Silents right here beginning at 7 pm (CDT) August 20. The films will be available until 5 pm (CDT) September 8.
About the Program
This 50-minute online screening will feature new sounds from Beatrix*Jar, Andrew Broder, Lady Midnight, Cody McKinney, and Dameun Strange. Each artist selected a piece from the Walker’s Ruben/Bentson Moving Image Collection to score, including works by filmmakers Bruce Baillie, Tom DeBiaso, Rock Ross, Robert Banks, Buki Bodunrin, Mark Bradford, and Kara Walker. Please note this program contains mature content.
Mark Bradford created a challenge for himself in this short video. He built a huge hoop skirt out of a Los Angeles Lakers uniform, and his use of struggle is a metaphor for roadblocks in culture, gender, and race in America. Beatrix*Jar’s soundtrack supplements the whimsical nature of the fabric blowing in the wind, adding another dimension to the filmmaker’s difficulty with making the shot. Directed by Mark Bradford, 2003, video, 3 min. Soundtrack by Beatrix*Jar. Thanks to Hauser & Wirth.
Gather + Listen
This animated film focuses on the subtle rhythms that happen unconsciously at an owambe (a lavish Nigerian party). As people come together in joy, their hearts begin to beat at the same rhythm, as if united in happiness. Lady Midnight’s soundtrack infuses happiness and hand-clapping rhythms that will lift your spirits. Directed by Buki Bodunrin, 2014, digital, 5 min. Soundtrack by Lady Midnight.
Tom DeBiaso casts Joanne Kawamura in this structuralist film where she challenges the viewer in simple gestures. Andrew Broder’s perfectly timed soundtrack pounds beats and tempos, provoking the audience to a stare down. Directed by Tom DeBiaso, 1978, 16mm transferred to digital, 8 min. Soundtrack by Andrew Broder.
Bruce Baillie’s film is a portrait of his friend Tung as she floats playfully through an animated world of color and motion. Beatrix*Jar plays with words and orchestrated ambience to make the soundtrack a meditative journey. Directed by Bruce Baillie, 1965, 16mm transferred to digital, 5 min. Soundtrack by Beatrix*Jar.
Motion Picture Genocide
Robert Banks uses found footage and direct hand-manipulated animation techniques to question the intentions of race in the motion picture industry. Cody McKinney brilliantly incorporates some of the original music to jump-start viewers in a rhythmical cinematic ride. Directed by Robert Banks, 1997, 35mm transferred to digital, 4 min. Soundtrack by Cody McKinney.
This spoof on the genre of silent era cinema is part slapstick, part Shakespeare, and a whole lot of over-acting infused in a playful tale. Dameun Strange takes audio cues from the three lead characters and provides a symphonic temporal narrative to accompany the story. Directed by Rock Ross, 1999, 16mm transferred to digital, 10 min. Soundtrack by Dameun Strange.
Testimony: Narrative of a Negress Burdened by Good Intentions
Depicting the harrowing psychological impact of slavery and its legacy and drawing subtle contrast between historic and present-day race issues, Kara Walker’s use of silhouettes and dark, dramatic, settings offer an aesthetic interpretation of slavery in America. Lady Midnights uses her ethereal voice and digs deep into the American songbook (Black spirituals, blues, and American anthems) to invigorate the story. Directed by Kara Walker, 2004, 16mm transferred to digital, 9 min. Soundtrack by Lady Midnight.
Beatrix*Jar is an art collective/dynamic duo made up of couple/creative collaborators Bianca Janine Pettis (Beatrix) and Jacob Aaron Roske (JAR). Formed in 2003, Beatrix*Jar works in tandem on video projects, music videos, sound art residencies and classes, circuit-bending workshops, live performances, albums, DJ sets, sound and set design for performance, audio playgrounds, community engagement, curatorial endeavors, sewing projects, screenprinting, murals, art installations, interactive sound collage, and more.
Andrew Broder is a life-long resident of Minneapolis, who has been a cutting battle DJ, improviser, soundtrack composer, working sideman, producer, remixer, beat-maker, poet, beauty creator, and songwriter. He has released records on renowned indie labels and worked with numerous artists, such as Bon Iver, Poliça, Marijuana Deathsquads, Dua Saleh, FPA, Armand Hammer, Serengeti, the National, Dave King, and others.
Cody McKinney is a composer, bassist, and sound artist living in Minneapolis. For the past 4 years, along with electronic musician John Keston, McKinney has performed and curated sound/simulacra, a monthly experimental music series promoting free improvisation and collaboration between artists of differing disciplines.
Lady Midnight is an ethereal vocalist and performance artist who draws upon her multidisciplinary background in visual art, dance, and Afro-indigenous roots to create work that is a power for change and confronting trauma. Lady Midnight is one half of the group Parables of Neptune, a duo with Afrokeys (former keyboardist of Atmosphere) and was named Best Twin Cities Vocalist of 2017 by City Pages. As Lady Midnight, she has recorded with international touring artists Bon Iver, P.O.S., and Brother Ali, and has performed with internationally acclaimed icons Common, Moby, Andra Day, and Aloe Blacc, among others.
Dameun Maurice Strange is a sound artist, multi-instrumentalist, and composer whose conceptual chamber works, choral pieces, and operas are focused on stories of the African diaspora, often exploring Afrofuturist themes. Strange expresses the beauty and resilience of the Black experience through sound, music, and poetry. Previously, he worked as a program associate at the Bush Foundation and most recently served as the executive director of the Northeast Minneapolis Arts Association.