MIA Screens is an online showcase featuring contemporary experimental films and artist moving image works with introductions by the artists who made them.
Edwin Rostron introduces The Asphodel Phases:
The Asphodel Phases is a sprawling conglomeration of ideas and images, made up of animation sequences I worked on sporadically between 2013 and 2018. It coalesced into this form out of years of open ended experiments, initially made as part of a loose, evolving collaborative project with musician and writer Supreme Vagabond Craftsman (SVC). This material was first shown in a series of live audio-visual performances with SVC. Then in 2019 I brought a number of these sequences together as a film piece to show at a screening in Barcelona, organised by the wonderful CRANC. For this reworking I used a soundtrack by Dean Honer,himself a collaborator of SVC’s.
These animation sequences were initially made to accompany live, improvised music, but even in this new form I think the film retains some of the free flowing, improvisational feeling of the performances. The animation was itself created in an improvisational way, spontaneously and without knowing where it would go. There are underlying connections and themes, but the balance of suggestion, diversion, repetition and interruption in the film undermine any notion of a solid meaning or message, so its hard to sum it up in a pithy sentence or two. Its more like the rambling semi-coherent spoken word of SVC himself, and even though his work is not present in this film, the spirit of his work defines the structure of the film.
The way I think about the film changes frequently as time goes on. Right now it makes me think of a particular image in a book I looked at a lot while making it. It is a still from The Quatermass Experiment (1953), and it features in the chapter on British painter Graham Sutherland in the book A Paradise Lost: The Neo-Romantic Imagination in Britain 1935-55. The image is captioned “Organic Horror in a Sanctified Space”. Something about this conjunction of references might illuminate some of my interests while making The Asphodel Phases – the British landscape, ‘Neo-Romantic’ painting, science fiction, horror, abstraction, church architecture and the idea of sacred space.
All of which is to say, make of it what you will.
The Asphodel Phases
2013-2019 | 23’27”
by Edwin Rostron
Music by Dean Honer
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