A horror cinema audio-visual ensemble, featuring Southern Cross University researchers, will have its music video ‘Dark Shadows’ screened at FIVA, a leading international video arts festival in Buenos Aires. The video shows time-lapse photography of x-ray imagery being chemically degraded.
The Moviolas use musical and visual themes from horror cinema in broader contexts, such as the politics of exile, of alienation, and of environmental degradation. The ensemble is based around the talents of video artist Associate Professor Grayson Cooke in the School of Arts and Social Sciences, lyricist and music co-producer Adjunct Professor Phil Hayward and composer and music co-producer Mr Waldo Garrido, an associate lecturer in music at Macquarie University. Their recordings also feature various guest vocalists and instrumentalists.
“We like to play popular cultural associations off against each other to bring new perspectives and senses of intensity to personal and political issues,” said Professor Hayward.
From more than 650 submissions and a competitive selection process by an international jury, FIVA will screen 57 videos, including ‘Dark Shadows’, during the festival from December 2 to 4. The song is inspired by the popular 1960s TV horror series ‘Dark Shadows’ but rendered as a chilling tale of exile.
“In this project I use x-ray images of the human skeleton printed onto black and white negative film stock, which are then doused in acetic acid,” said Professor Cooke.
“Time-lapse photography records these incredibly beautiful processes in which the image begins to stretch, warp and mutate, slowly melting and drifting like satin.
“Conceptually, I took the notion of ‘shadows’ from the lyrics and title of the track, and related that to the idea of the x-ray, a kind of shadow of the body and its pathologies cast onto a photo-sensitive medium.”
The Moviolas launched its debut CD “Dark Shadows” in 2015, released by Bamboozle Music in Australia and digitally through the music download services, HighResAudio and iTunes.
The first single ‘Trick or Treating’ (2015) was included in iTunes’ annual Halloween ‘Door Knock’ mix compilation (getting the track good exposure in the US) and the video was selected for inclusion in Brisbane’s ‘Dead of Winter’ horror media festival.
The Moviolas second video, ‘Sirena Garden’ (2016), featured members of Southern Cross University’s Fire Club as fire-breathing mermaids submerged in Lake Ainsworth during a lightning storm.
Professor Hayward said ‘Dark Shadows’ Chilean Spanish lyrics – reflecting the cultural background of band member Waldo Garrido – were about the depression and senses of alienation felt by those cut off from their culture of origin in unfriendly environments.
“The ‘shadows’ referred to are those of repression and violence. The music accompanying the narration of the prose lyrics is deliberately rich and complex, performed primarily on an acoustic bass – suggesting the alternation of joy and despair.”
Members of the ensemble are currently working on tracks for a second album with British experimental guitarist Mike Cooper and a choir of seniors from Ballina singing a dark song about the curse of a captured mermaid.
Visit The Moviolas website.