A behind the scenes look at the filming of Graham Dolphin’s new film

In this week’s blog post, we hear from Matthew Fearn, Visual Arts Assistant, National Glass Centre and Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art (NGCA) with a behind the scenes look at the filming of Graham Dolphin’s new film, ‘Gnossiennes’, opening Saturday 5th March 2022 at Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art.

The team here at NGCA wanted to provide a behind the scenes look at how the soundtrack and footage was captured.

For the exhibition, Graham has chosen to rework a series of piano compositions by the French pianist and composer, Erik Satie titled ‘Gnossiennes’. These six scores have been recorded and edited resulting in a continuous, overlapping sequence that invites the viewer to stop, observe and engage with the performance.

The film was recorded in the performance hall of Durham University’s Music Department with John Snijders, Associate Professor in Performance and Deputy Head of the Department performing the musical arrangements.

With the assistance of Dr Simone Tarsitani, the department’s Technical Manager, the large filming kit was set up around the stage area. Graham’s idea of filming only the keys of the pianos, meant that a single camera was positioned above John throughout the duration of his performance.

After adjusting the room’s lighting and completing a final soundcheck, the filming was ready to begin.

With the six scores being layered over each other in the editing process it was essential that each composition had an identical setup for seamless image transitions. The camera’s footage was therefore monitored throughout to ensure this. In total, the full six Gnossiennes compositions were performed during the session, of course allowing for short breaks in between the ringing of the nearby cathedral’s bells.

‘Gnossiennes’ opens on 5th March, be sure to visit Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art to see the finished film for yourself. While available why not pick up one of the free printed risograph scores that accompany the exhibition.

Graham has personally produced these through the risograph printing technique with the help of Foundation Press based at the University of Sunderland. Each sheet features all six of the compositions played in the film, creating vibrant musical sheet patterns. And each has a unique element so pick yours up before they’re gone.

More details on ‘Gnossiennes’ and Graham’s current exhibition ‘Come Together’ can be found on NGCA’s website. ‘Come Together’ is on display until Sunday 27th February in Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Collection Space.

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