In the 200 years since the American Revolution, the United States and Great Britain have moved from enemies to firm allies. This documentary follows military experts and historians as they work through the top secret 'War Plan Red' to see how a hypothetical battle between America and Great Britain might have unfolded.
A small moment from a children's Halloween party is taken as material for an exploration of folded time.
Essentially, this is a very simple piece. Two girls, dressed up for Halloween, sit on some steps then get up and run away. The action, originally shot at a slow frame rate then slowed again, is fragmented and looped, then time-slipped and layered. This originated on a digital video camera, and was digitally slowed and layered. No other digital processing was used. The delicate soundtrack was designed to serve as both a counterpoint to and an anchor for the image. The challenge , as always, was to create sounds that seemed to "come from" the image while maintaining a life of their own as compositional elements.
Time is, in fact, what I see as my main material. THE BACK STEPS is a demonstration of that particular interests. The image loops but also progresses forward. That is fairly easy to see. However, the sound, while having looping elements, has a compositional structure that changes throughout the piece. I imagine most pieces as a series of overlain arcs, each of a different length and height and each representing a different durational element in the piece. Another way to imagine this is to think of a mechanical clock with many different internal rhythms, all of which move the hands steadily forward.
Originally conceived as a "cinematic "projection, The Back Steps, has also been presented as a looped installation.
Leighton Pierce’s award-winning short films and videos have been exhibited in major art museums and film festivals throughout the world since 1980. Retrospectives of his work appeared at The Lincoln Center, The Cinémathèque française, The Musée du Cinéma in Brussels, The Montreal Film Festival, and at The Lisboa Bienal of Contemporary Art. Pierce has received many grants and fellowships including from the Rockefeller and Guggenheim Foundations and from the NEA. Currently he is exhibiting and developing multi channel video installations.
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