I also compose with pictures. I make films that originate from the sense of form of a music composer. The result are artist films and videos and pieces that combine film with live musicians. Here are a few examples.
Sing was du hörst!
This piece is pretty similar to the child game «Chinese whispers». The original is a singing improvisation which I recorded onto Minidisc. This singing I gave 13 friends on headphones, each with the assignment to sing along what they´re hearing. While doing so I filmed them with my video camera. The resulting series of portraits is screened silently while the voice of these so portrayed people is given again on headphones of the music performer on stage – with exactly the same assignment: play along what you´re hearing as exactly as possible.
With: (in order of appearance)
Mendel Hardeman, Jasna Velickovic, Amos Elmalia, Kaat Hellings, Federico Reuben, Miguel Clerk Perada, Grzegorz Marciniac, Jörg Euteneuer, Juan Sebastian Lach Lau, Duncan Macloud, Clarissa Miller, Dganit Elyakim, Anette Schmid-Burgk, Ophir Ilzetzki
17.3.2006 Schlossberghalle Starnberg, Piano Possibile (Premiere Ensemble Version)
25.3.2006 Muffatwerk Club Ampère München, Piano Possibile
21.4.2006 Korzo Theatre Den Haag, Otto Bakker – Cello (Premiere Solo Version)
Flute: David Eschmann, Oboe: Dietrich Schmidt, Clarinet: Heinz Friedl, Trombone: Erwin Gregg, Glockenspiel: Stefan Eblenkamp, Violin: Gertrud Schilde, Cello: Mathis Mayr
‘Leftovers’ is made of leftovers from my own film work, as well as pieces from recent music history. The Super8 images were shot at Munich Main Station.
People are being observed while waiting, going, eating and buying newspapers, or using the telephone. The projectionist has a collection of real objects, equivalent to the ones used or carried by the people in the image. One by one he puts those objects in the projection beam, so that the objects in the image are doubled in shadow.
This combined image, projected onto a small screen, is being captured by a video camera, which again projects it over the heads of the musicians onto the back wall of the stage. The musicians are not only doubling the noise of the Super8 projector with musical imitations and embellishments, but they also double the gesture of putting objects into the projection beam. This tautological matrix is finally dissolved by an ironic layering of one-tone-pieces from Scelsi, Grisey, Berio, Jobim and Ligeti.
28.1.2005 Korzo Theatre Den Haag (Premiere)
6.6.2005 Villa Ockenburgh Den Haag
“Quasi Rublev” (2006/07) is a 50-minute project created by three artists: Katarina Głowicka, Mathis Nitchke and Gośka Isphording. It was inspired by the films of Tarkovsky’s metaphorical long shots and slow transformation in which the spectator loses his sense of time. It was this particular bell casting scene from the film “Andrei Rublev” which was the starting point for the project. Glowicka created processed, dark bell-like sounds on the harpsichord with electronics. Nitschke found his contemporary equivalent of the holy bell at the Vienna Prater. The film is shot on black and white Super8.
The project was developed with funding from the Performing Funds Netherland and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and was premiered on September 26th, 2007 at Sonic Arts Research Institute in Belfast.
An artist is interviewed on a rowing boat. He attempts to explain the reasons why he shot the photographs of his last exhibition the way they are. His efforts in searching for the right words are disturbed by the wind, the waves, bird twittering and the creaking paddles of the boat. At the point where the artist encounters the biggest difficulty in expressing what he wants to say, a chorale of stretched cello tones that had been slowly building up culminates, drowning out his voice. The ear stops paying attention to the content of the words, and from now on prefers to hear all sounds and conversation scraps as music. In the end, only the sound of the paddles, the waves and the birds remain.
The ‘Timestretching’-algorithm of the Samplitude audio editing suite, if used repeatedly with extreme parameters, ends up producing artificial overtones and a wobbly, glass-like sound, which I used to my own benefit in this piece. I took fragments from improvisations recorded specially for the occasion, and stretched them to 32 times their original length. The results are layered in a chorale structure, in order to achieve a music that deliberately reminds the works György Ligeti made in the 1960’s.
Music created 2000, Video 2018
with Niklas Nitschke and Alu Walter
Cello: Mathis Mayr
All about me
I created the short film ‘All about me’ as a reaction to French films like ‘Baise-moi’, which inspired me to attempt a form of radical subjectivity. What fascinates me about those fictitious first-person narratives is that one never knows if this maybe is indeed auto-biographial, after all.
‘All about me’ is about the feelings of guilt when desiring pornographic images, and the futile attempt to contain those desires through conciously sought oversaturation. The film approaches the theme through different poetical episodes from the life of an apple. The apple is born out of the sea, and it is eaten, traded and mechanically processed until it flies toward heaven. The use of stop-motion animation and simple Super8 tricks creates a nostalgic impressivity that both supports and intercepts the disarming subjectivity of the author through poetry.
Length: 19 minutes
Shooting format: Super8 (a Beaulieu 4008ZMII, a Nizo 4080 and a Eumig Nautica on Kodachrome and Vision 500T (candle footage). Transfer is DIY.) and digital photography.
Year of production: 2004-2005
Although not used in the originally intended meaning the film contains some adult material. So it is definitely not recommended for children or people who feel offended by explicit images.
If you’re interested to watch the complete film, send me a message so I can send you a password protected link.
Presented in June 2006 in the photography museum Huis Marseille, Amsterdam as world premiere.
A film by Mathis Nitschke, copyright 2005.
What others say:
“Your animations work. …you bring us to so many different places…” (The Brothers Quay)
“its power relied on a kind of confessional intimacy that was honest but unasked for – it was if you were telling us something in order to convince yourself .” (Antony Gormley)