Synken is an experimental project, imaginative and ambitious, born by the collaboration of the visual artists Transforma and the composer O.S.T. Transforma are Baris Hasselbach, Luke Bennet and Simon Krahl , a collective of vj, experimental video-artists and graphics from Berlin , collaborator of Apparat and Funkstoerung as well
O.S.T. is Chris Douglas, Californian musician known because of his different performances under the name of Dalglish, Rook Valard and Rook Vallade . Synken is a vibrating, evolved trip through mysterious landscapes where shapes and abstractions are reverberated inside fragile soundscapes. Synken is a unique work, that explores the borders between vjing, videoart, graphic and analogical elaboration, creating an hybrid being between utterance and statement, hanging in the balance of live and digital support.
Synken is an hybrid project, an audio-visual project that can be represented as live cinema when performed live, reproduced on screen in cinemas and on DVD’s. The difference is surely minimal, as every audio-visual non-linear electro project. At the same time, this formula represent nowadays one of the most diffused modality of representation and distribution, or at least one of those that arouses the interest of the productions the most. And this is surely something good for the audio-visual world, that is often far from the contemporary art circuit, as well as from the music business or cinematographic distribution.
Synken was born as DVD, in collaboration with the Berliner label Shitkatapult of Tim Raumschmire and the guys of Cimatics Festival from Brussels. We’re therefore talking about a support usable at home or inside a cinematographic context. In memory of the project by Modeselektor and Pfadfinderei for the French label Dalbin , as well as the beautiful Silent Room signed Skoltz Kolgen (that Synken remembers for its multiethnic approach), through an interesting equilibrium between analogical and digital techniques, among moments of works during the set design, film direction and digital post-production, we can easily say that something in this sense is going on, at least inside the high floors.
We had the opportunity to talk about this with Transforma, met in Florence at the Muv Festival, sent by Digicult to perform live their last Synken project.
Silvia Bianchi: How did the collaboration between Transforma and O.S.T. started?
Transforma: We met Chris Douglas (O.S.T.) in 2001 in Berlin and made the video ‘SYMÜL’ together (it is as an extra on the Synken dvd). We had also been involved with the label Shitkatapult for a few years creating visuals for some of their artists and for their ‘Shitparade’ label parties. It was actually Sascha Ring (Apparat), from Shitkatapult, with whom we had been playing live shows before, who saw ‘SYMÜL’, liked it and suggested to make an album version of this collaboration
Silvia Bianchi: How did the idea behind Synken take place and how did you developed the narration and characters of the history?
Transforma: First we spoke about Synken as an atmosphere that were interested in creating. Then, Synken was a loose collection of images and dreams that we collected over the last years, combined with sound ideas from O.S.T. After that, Transforma wrote a script for a very loose story-line, that combined images, dreams and ideas into individual characters, places and actions. This script served us as a map to navigate through the scenario and define steady and variable structures. We used this technique to create consistency in our wild mix of ideas, at the same time allowing enough room for improvisation. We gave O.S.T. the script and from that point we were inspiring each other back and forth with samples of our ongoing work.
Silvia Bianchi: How did you realized the audio and video part of the DVD? Was it the video that generated the audio or vice versa?
Transforma: We were working on sound and images in parallel throughout the whole time. Its neither cutting a film to music nor writing a score to a film. For us its feels more like sounds and images come together and fall apart again and again over the time. We use techniques to create moments of illusion that sounds are generated by images or the other way round. In Synken, we used our experience with rhythm from our previous works in clubs as VJs. We were used to cutting images to club sounds that always rely on ongoing bassdrum impulses, but O.S.T.s music gave us the opportunity to work on a more complex approach to rhythm and structure, within microscopic parts of the film as well as on the whole structure of the film.
Silvia Bianchi: The scenography used for Synken are obscure and mysterious. Where did you find the inspiration for this history?
Transforma: As mentioned before, Synken started out as a collection of ideas, dreams, images and atmospheres we wanted to interconnect and recreate in our work. The basis of Synken are somewhat nightmarish ideas that we developed further into the basic story-line. Later the atmosphere developed from the locations we chose to film and the characters that we created. But we did not plan everything in advance. We improvised a lot during the whole process of making the film. Of course post production, edit and sound play an equal role in creating the slightly dark, mysterious atmosphere; even though parts of the film appear to us also somewhat humorous. The story, characters, places and everything else in Synken is supposed to be open for the viewers own thoughts and interpretations. So if there is a place where the story takes place, it must be within the viewer.
Silvia Bianchi: The analogical and organic elements of Synken melt together with a digital processing. Which is your relation with the analogical and digital during the audio/video processing?
Transforma: We always liked mixing different approaches in our works. On the one hand using generated forms and graphics, on the other hand filming build sets or locations. For us digital techniques (editing, post producing on the computer, digital cameras) go hand in hand with constructing sets, working with actors, costumes, handcrafted objects and graphics. It is also a challenge that leads us to new ideas for images when we try to inverse production techniques, trying to manually create images that would be simple to render on a computer or the other way around.
Silvia Bianchi: What do you think about the nowadays market for audiovisual products? How did you find publishing a work such as Synken? Considering the public response, do you think people are getting more sensitive about those products?
Transforma: To be honest a dvd like Synken is a special interest work, within an already special interest field. We were aware of that but did not let that compromise our work. We were thankful that Shitkatapult supported our project and artistic vision from the very beginning until the end. The dvd is the perfect format for a work like this, but it also helps making people aware of hybrid artworks like Synken, that we perform it live at music/film/media festivals. We are very happy with the feedback so far and are even a bit surprised how accessible Synken is received even by people who are not so familiar with experimental visual music films.