Talking with Dolphins

This film started out as an exploration of how vividly human memory can be triggered by everyday sounds from a person’s past. Almost thirty people were asked to record five minutes of their day on August 1, 2016. Six months later, twelve of them were played back these recordings while their recall process was captured on film. The resulting footage and interviews are what form the film. Although this initial thread still runs through, the project has become more about language and phonetics than memory. The film is in two parts: Blowholes and Tongues.

“Blowholes” consists of any prominent memories the participants shared while being interviewed. They were edited to give an impression of a single memory being recalled, with all of the inconsistencies one might expect. Beneath or behind the voices lie the recordings made by the participants on the 1st August. They have been layered and processed through a looping machine to form a bed of environmental sound. This part of the film is meant to feel dreamlike or at least as if one is listening to another’s account of a dream – a disjointed and frankly uninteresting yarn that is more surreal than anything else.

“Tongues” is an attempt to remodel human voices through editing. The main title of this film betrays a desire of mine to converse with animals so in some way I have imagined what this might sound like – although the sounds used are mostly made from objects rather than animals, the sentiment is still there. This part of the film was rather labour intensive; I took seven interviews and deconstructed every phoneme in each one and replaced them, (as closely as possible), with phonemes cut from recordings made of objects such as scissors, floorboards or farts. I then ended up with a phonetic alphabet for each individual object consisting of up to four hundred tiny sound files that had to be aligned perfectly so as to be in sync with the original video. Seven separate environments or places were then recorded to match each new type of voice and were mixed in to form the background.