Director: Gunvor Nelson
Year: 2004
Time: 9 mins
Music: Gunvor Nelson
Eye of Sound: Born in Sweden, veteran filmmaker Gunvor Nelson was one of the leading forces in the San Francisco avant-film scene of the 60s and has over the past 40 years erected a very personal filmography solidly dedicated to studies on image and sound. Trace Elements is a short formal exercise in which the camera moves around a room, exploring the almost tactile surfaces of a decaying wall with a constant sense of bewilderment and restless hesitation, as if the camera never does find, as John Sundholm has said, its target. Nelson's own body is constantly present, its shadow insisting on merging with the other shadow-forms reflected on the walls, perhaps as a mark of a self-reflexive stance. Such shadows are compositionally juxtaposed with excessive light, creating in its relation with movement and editing multiple surfaces that constantly elude a clear spatial resolution, the only exception being brief intermissions in which the distorted colors of flowers almost violently erupt into the screen. Nelson composed the soundtrack herself, a flickering and spacious electroacoustic soundscape in which low-key field recordings, synth color tones, voice fragments and quasi-lyrical instrumental events are quietly made to flow into and out of the walls, allowing silence to punctuate the piece's movement and introduce subtle nuances in the aural rapport with the images. Both visually and sonically, Trace Elements stands as a work of both immense maturity and daring experimentation, a combination possible only to artists who have reached higher levels of control over their selves.

1 comment:

  1. Very beautiful film. I've seen some of her films and I loved them all. It would be wonderful to have more Gunvor Nelson material here.
    Thanks for all the good stuff!