FLOW + FLOE, a short film

FLOW+FLOE, a first video experiment (2020)
A tribute to Philip Glass’ “Works”
(2 flutes, 2 soprano saxophones, 2 tenor saxophones, 2 horns, synthesizer)

4’20” – HD-1920×1080 (AAC, H.264)

Created in 1981/82, Glassworks is a chamber music work of six movements by Philip Glass. Following his larger-scale concert and stage works, Glassworks was Philip Glass’s successful attempt to create a more pop-oriented “Walkman-suitable” work, with considerably shorter and more accessible pieces written for the recording studio. In fact, the cover of the cassette release stated that it was “specially mixed for your personal cassette player”. (Wikipedia)

“Glassworks was intended to introduce my music to a more general audience than had been familiar with it up to then”.

Philip Glass

Floe+Floe is a video essay I had in mind for a long time.

It’s my first attempt in moving pictures and it seems to me that this so vivid work could only be illustrated by movement. I had to get out of a visual movement limited to two dimensions. The auditory would necessarily have prevailed, as the work is so heady.

I imagined myself alongside Philip Glass, questioning ourselves on a musical and visual collaboration, made of two artistic dimensions evolving in parallel, marrying without imitating and reinforcing each other.

I just used a half part of the second movement named “Floe” that is in my opinion an obsessive sound labyrinth, a monument made of multiple independent, systematic layers that can lead to another dimension or to madness. The opposition of fast and slow visual rhythms evokes feverish, obsessive dreams from which you wake up exhausted…

The repetition of the series in Floe’s writing corresponds perfectly to the nested and layered structures of my work, the complex lines tending towards infinity.

Among others, one of the main ingredient of Flow+Floe is a drawing from the series Equafortis I created in 2017.

Equafortis Stade 4 Phase 1 (detail)

If Flow+Floe is a very structured and repetitive kinematic painting, it is constantly evolving.

I have included in my essay a portrait of Philip Glass by Chuck Close in 1969. I feel close to Close’s approach: his detailed portraits, seen from a distance, are endowed with great photographic fidelity, but from close up only show a multitude of abstract coloured spots. The immersive dimension and the loss of reference points are also at the heart of my work with a certain closeness in my series of self-portraits “Persona“.

I have always associated this work by Glass with Steve Reich’s piece “Music for 18 Musicians“, which will be the subject of a new video essay that I will soon create.

Links :
Philip Glass Website
Chuck Close on Artnet
Steve Reich, “Music for 18 Musicians” on YouTube
Jeff Gwegan | Equafortis, A series (2017)
Jeff Gwegan | Persona | A triptych, three self portraits (2019-2020)