Digital Channel > Filmmaker Chris Paul Daniels On Working With Sven Helbig’s Pocket Symphonies

Filmmaker Chris Paul Daniels On Working With Sven Helbig’s Pocket Symphonies

With composer Sven Helbig’s one-off performance in our gallery space edging ever closer, we caught up with filmmaker Chris Paul Daniels to find out what we can expect from the multi-media accompaniment that he’ll be contributing to this special Pocket Symphonies…

On Saturday 9th September at 19:00 I’ll be ready to begin a live video performance with Manchester Camerata and the renowned composer, Sven Helbig. Together we’ll be performing Sven’s critically acclaimed album ‘Pocket Symphonies’ which he has toured internationally. He has collaborated with numerous artists and filmmakers like myself to create bespoke events for this album and I’m really looking forward to our one-off show at HOME in the main art gallery space.

It’s exciting to be working with the Camerata. Seeing their full ensemble perform Arvo Pärt with him in attendance at the Bridgewater Hall two years ago at Manchester International Festival was outstanding. For this one-off event there will be a stripped down number of musicians, which will create intimate acoustics around the gallery space.

Sven’s music is evocative and very cinematic so I’ve been working away to to do justice to the music with the films I’ve created and collated to be performed live using VJ software. This gives me a lot more flexibility and the opportunity to be directly responsive to the musicians and, hopefully, create a more rewarding relationship between the audio and the video for the audience. I’ve been lucky to perform with musicians in this way in Iceland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Kenya and China – the latter on a British Council funded trip with HOME, CFCCA and Brighter Sound, but I’ve rarely performed this way in Manchester, so this makes it a special (and nerve wracking) event for me too.

For this performance, I have created footage by shooting on super8 and 16mm film as well as digital formats. I don’t want to give too much away, but a lot of the footage relates very directly to the North West. You’ll see some great drone footage that I need to thank Sean McCrossan from The Published Image for, and I’ve generated a lot of the material on a residency in Blackpool facilitated by Light Up The North Network, and another section I filmed at London Road Fire Station, right in front of Manchester Piccadilly train station, in the abandoned domestic spaces just in time before it undergoes a huge renovation by Allied London. I’m hugely grateful for Jenny Walker and Alex Rinsler in their parts in facilitating both of these.

I’ve also been very fortunate to access some incredible films from the North West Film Archive at Manchester Metropolitan University who have been fantastic to work with. I’m interested in the relationship that mixing contemporary and historical analogue film footage has in the show – the audience might not necessarily always know when my material ends and the archive footage begins, so there’s hopefully some sense of timelessness in the abstract textures, colours and movements in the projections on show. I’m looking forward to the 9th September and really hope people will come and check out this one off event.

Words by Chris Paul Daniels. Follow him on Twitter here.

Upclose: Manchester Camerata at HOME/ Sven Helbig: Pocket Symphonies takes place on Sat 9 September. Book tickets here.

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