Just Music

6 May - 20 August 2017
De Appel (acts) in Amsterdam (and beyond)

I have terrible taste in movies. It’s probably because while I was growing up, nearly all blockbusters were captioned and low budget indie movies almost never were. I am intrigued by how captioners often do not adequately caption music in movies, using phrases like “ominous music in the background.” There’s no mention of whether the sound was made up of vocalizations or synthetic sounds, or even a mix of both. In some cases, they do not transcribe lyrics because of copyrights.

For this group of drawings titled “Just Music”, I came up with a list of sound captions and used quarter notes and ‘legato’ to visualize each caption. ‘Legato’ is a musical term for a group of slurred notes, tied together by a line underneath or above. There’s no space for silence in each group; each note would go from one pitch to another without stopping, unlike clear stoppable beats. There are no staff lines in these drawings, because my idea of both high and low pitches is probably different from yours. This is kind of how I see music inside my head as I read those lazy and oversimplified captions, because I do not get much detail and the overall effect is bland. I end up viewing music like one continuous sound that's informed by the story and aesthetics of each movie and in turn, I score my imaginings back into the movie.

Charcoal on Paper
50x65cm (19.68x25.6in)

Photos by Cassander Eeftinck Schattenkerk & De Appel