It was asked by Actoral festival and the Frac Paca to combine a piece for News from the Near Future. Fiona Tan‘s video piece is made a collage of historic film and audio material. It tells of man’s ambivalent relationship with water as a force of nature. Drawing on the archives of the Amsterdam Film Museum, Tan composed a narrative crescendo starting off with idyllic impressions of the watery world and building to increasingly menacing scenarios of an unleashed nature. Images of floods and churning seas, of wild winds and storms, parade before our eyes the destructive force of water. Tragedies at sea are reported in the style of old newsreels or radio shows, segueing into pictures of flooded cities that – as indicated in the work’s title – forebode future catastrophes. The cinematic repertoire of waves, tides and floods acts as an historical memory, presenting the sea as a metaphor for the flow of time.
Like the multiple waves in movie, the sound piece is made of flat, droning and undisturbed waves. This is what can be thought when listened from far. Actually from another scale, it is possible to hear long glissandi which speed of change is evoluating along the piece. The sound quality is rich, bright and flat. Very similar to pitched noise or compressed orchestra. It is rich and all its attacks are eroded. Its tessiture is only located in low and high registers in order to enhance this aspect of “moving flat” sound. Listeners could sometimes think about tinnitus. The evolution is mostly based on long calculated glissandi going up or down at different speeds or crossing each-other.