David Ryan




Sequence 1


Tower rough

Tower rough


Tower rough 3


Tower rough






Work In Progress



Tower [A composition for architecture and two musicians]
(working title)


HDV c25-30min


My work has been evolving as a site for engaging both visual and audio elements. How something is seen and heard; how a space might engage sound; and how a time-frame might evolve a particular narrative of actions, sounds being made and in turn acted upon. This particular project Tower [a composition for architecture and two musicians] explores the relationship between architectural space and the realisation of a performed improvisation by two musicians, Jennifer Allum and Ute Kanngeisser. It follows on from a film I directed in Rome (Via di San Teodoro 2010) which has been shown in Rome, Berlin, Seoul and will be screened in New York and Brussels later this year. It explored the spaces of the house of composer Giacinto Scelsi (1905-88). As in this latter film, Tower will explore the specifics of a location in relation to a performance ‘housed’ with the filmic exploration of the architecture from both a visual and aural perspective. I am particularly interested in an unfolding interrogation of the relationship between sound and image beyond the confines of a ‘soundtrack.’ How sonic actions and gestures unfold in the particularities of a space (in this sense a challenge to the expectations of filmed performance or the ‘music video.’)
The setting is the medieval Bell Tower of St Augustine in the centre of Hackney, London. The bell tower would have functioned, as part of the St Augustine church (no longer existant) as the prime sonic territorialization of rural Hackney. Today it sits in close proximity to the busy hub of social traffic and transport networks around Mare street, with an atmosphere in sharp contrast to contemporary urban flow. It has four main spaces stacked on top of each other: a small meeting room with a wooden platform and pendulum; a room with an elaborate ancient clock (dating from the 1580s); the bell tower itself, and a roof terrace where the skyline of Hackney and beyond can be taken in within a 360 degree rotation (although this will not be used in the filming).
I will be working with the same team as in Rome: Tim Sidell, camera; sound engineer Emanuele Costantini; focus puller Joseph Mastrangelo; this time adding a grip, Chris Rusby, which will protentially allow more fluid shots to the very static repertoire of Via San Teodoro 8 . I intend to take no longer than a two day shoot and one week post-production. The film will be approx 25 minutes in length.
The film is envisioned to be in two parts in total lasting 25-30 minutes: firstly an exploration of the spaces of the tower, and then the exploration of those spaces by the musicians. Jennifer Allum and Ute Kanngeisser have developed an extraordinary rapport as an improvising duo and both are extremely sensitive to context and environment. One of the key aspects of the film will be the relationship of their playing and movement through the spaces. Each of those spaces also have a very particular relationship to the exterior urban noises (most prominent in the bell tower space itself). Also the synchronous relationships of time or its measurement – present in the spaces with the pendulum and the clock; each of these facets will have an in influence in the playing of the two improvising musicians, and the film-making itself. A feature of the film will be the navigation of the proximity and distance of both image and sound slowly revealed by the processes of filming itself. A key to the piece is also the relationship between composing and improvisation: how each might situate themselves within the specifics of location and place, in the sense of both looking and listening, the act of filming, and the act of performing.
David Ryan 2012
Team: David Ryan
David Ryan is a visual artist and writer based in London, who is also actively involved in contemporary music. He has also recently worked on a film Knots and Fields: New Music at Darmstadt (2010) with director Andrew Chesher, which was previewed by the Guardian newspaper, and included an extensive interview with Pierre Boulez amongst others. His recent film via di San Teodoro 8 (2010-11) has been screened at the Berlin Konzerthaus, Italian Cultural institute, Stockholm and Issue Project Space, New York.
Tim Sidell (Director of Photography)
Tim Sidell has been involved with a number of experimental films and dramas as director of photography. His practice has developed from his beginnings in fine art drawing and painting and developing into his recent work with digital cinema cameras, high definition formats alongside Super 16mm and 35mm film. He has worked with various artists including Shezad Dawood’s Feature which was shown at the last Tate Triennial, Christine Webster’s Blindfield, and work by Leon Chambers and Vaughan Pilkian. He is also featured at the experimental gallery Beaconsfield. He has also recently been involved with films by Bethan Huws and the Jarman Award winner Emily Wardill.
Emanuele Costantini (Sound)
Emanuele Costantini worked in one of the most important Italian recording studios in Florence (Italy) his own native city, enjoying great experiences with international artists both in studio and live. Emanuele then moved to Rome (Italy) and into the Television and Film industry having the opportunity to work with small independent productions and large international crews. Productions include: "Cliffhanger" (sound assistant) RCS production, "Rome" (Sound Recordist) HBO production, "The Passion of Christ" (sound assistant and boom operator) 20th Century fox, "Journey Into the American Film Industry" (Sound Recordist) 20th century Fox. At the same time he worked in post-production as Nuendo tutor for Cinecitt‡ Studios, edited and mixed several documentaries, Television series' and films. Those productions include: "Fellini" (Piccini Productions - USA), "Excellent Cadavers" (digital camera assistant) HBO production, "The Last Kiss" (Assistant Editor) Fandango production, "Life is Beautiful" (Assistant Sound Editor) Cecchi Gori Production. Emanuele then moved to London to work as a Sound Designer for the new internet TV's documentaries www.OVO.com; as test engineer for the Russian microphone company Oktava and developer of the innovative surround recording technique BluroundÆ.
Joseph Matrangelo: Focus Puller
Chris Rusby: Grip