Kaleidoscope Eyes (and Ears): Q&A with Video Artist Jesse Moretti on Tonight's Live Collaboration with Julia Holter
Tonight, Human Ear Music founder and musical Renaissance woman Julia Holter headlines a night of pleasant experimental sounds at Synchronicity Space backed by the stunning visuals of L.A. artist Jesselisa Moretti.
Julia Holter, kaleidoscopically
In honor of the unique event (read more here), West Coast Sound spoke with Moretti -- who is also the the visual director and co-owner of Leaving Records -- about her burgeoning body of work, her "aqua-awesome" aesthetic, and just how it is that she's able to connect our eyes to our ears without using a single scalpel or suture.
Catch the interview, and a handful of inspired images, after the jump. But first, indulge in a little Monday morning psychedelia by watching Moretti in action. The below clip was created for Holter, and though it's soundless, you can relive (or pre-live) the collaboration by pressing play on the SoundCloud clip at the same time.
One more for good measure. Or, skip past it to dive into our interview with Moretti.
West Coast Sound: First things first, what are we looking at here?
Jesselisa Moretti: Pieces of video from the "Ritual Music" show at Sea & Space Explorations. They were projected behind Julia Holter while she performed. The performance ruminated on the idea of water. There were whale sounds subtly playing in the background of her entire set, it was aqua-awesome.
JM: Well, we're sorta waiting on the sound right now, but I thought it would be interesting to put it up on the Internet to be viewed as a demo video, and to function as a record of the event.
What you see right now is only one piece -- you need Julia's sound to complete it. It will be on the web soon, or you can come to Synchronicity tonight and see it in real life even sooner.
As for the collaboration, this video sprang out of another project I'm working on with her right now -- a music video for "Try to Make Yourself a Work of Art," a track off the upcoming album she's doing with us. [Ed: Download the song for free here.] So it came naturally, inspired by her beautiful music.
WCS: What's your method? What are the various techniques you apply?
JM: It's not too concrete yet, I'm mostly experimenting right now. This is the first video I've ever made, really. This project went something like this: discussion, sketch story, raw footage, many many layers, found footage, many many color adjustments, project, re-record, some drawings, awesome open-source matrices.
JM: I find some footage on YouTube, mostly things which I can't film like a flower opening and closing in slow motion.
Most of the video I captured myself, in and around my house or at the L.A. river, of [Leaving Records co-owner] Matthewdavid's giant glacial ice crystal and Julia at the studio.
WCS: What attracts you to a particular piece of found footage? Is there an aesthetic that you often return to?
JM: I think it has to fit into my story. Sometimes you just run across images that make sense. A lot of the footage that I sourced for this performance was old nature shots from '60s educational films. I used these as a texture -- many different pieces layered over one another. Sometimes all that's left is their color. If it's authentic, even if there's nothing concrete about it, it communicates that through osmosis or contact or some greater power. Basically, when I watch it, it should make sense. I want a constant idea weaving through the dreamy color and movement.
JM: This piece is a large collage with many mini compositions weaved into each other, always flowing forward. I do see them as being musical.
There is time and movement, and it's meant to bring the viewer along with a visual rhythm, to connect their ears to their eyes.
WCS: Will you be using these visuals for tonight's show? Do you ever improvise live?
JM: I'll be using an edit of the "Ritual Music" video, projeced from my laptop for now. I haven't had a chance to try improvising yet.
WCS: You did the cover art Dublab's recent Echo Expansion compilation. Where else can we see your work?