Above the Deluge

Film Synopsis for “Above the Deluge”
Multimedia Collaboration with Visual Artist Allyson Glenn (assisted by Shelby Lund and Lucy Zhou), Music Composers Paul Suchan and Silas Friesen, and the Saskatoon Jazz Orchestra (SJO)

Above the Deluge is one of two pieces made in collaboration with the Saskatoon Jazz Orchestra (SJO) for a project called Dimensions in Sound, simulating the phenomena of sound synesthesia. This project builds on a previous collaboration with the orchestra in 2018, when Glenn created and projected a 3D animation including shapes represented categories of instruments – percussion, brass, and wind, to simulate the movements that she “saw” in her mind’s eye.

For the latest project, Dimensions of Sound, the orchestra commissioned local musician/composers Paul Suchan and Silas Friesen to create music scores. To inform the pieces, the composers consulted with Allyson about synesthesia-specific responses. In May 2021, the SJO orchestra members were able to record the music independently using new technology, then mixed and put together digitally. Allyson received the music and began the animations by selecting open source video footage of underwater animals that could capture the floating, circling, and fluid shapes she could see in her mind’s eye. For Paul’s composition Above the Deluge, she investigated the shapes and movements of deep-sea divers and animals including otters, seals, fish, sharks, shark whales and water snakes. With her assistants Shelby Lund (Master of Fine Arts (MFA) student, University of Saskatchewan) and Lucy Zhou (BSc, University of Saskatchewan) they created drawings using the rotoscope method to transcribe the collaged footage.

On January 21, 2022, the SJO and Allyson will present a live performance with a projection of the animation behind the orchestra. This event will be livestreamed and available on the SJO’s website. The presentation of the animations and later live performance is an opportunity for audiences to learn more about synesthesia and contemplate their own experiences of music. Dimensions in Sound is supported by the Canada Council for the Arts through a Digital Now Fund.

Directed by Allyson Lorraine Glenn (Canada)

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