Screamers comprises two separate but related projects: a live performance and a feature film. Each work is meant to be experienced separately but shares certain concepts and materials.
Screamers (the film) is a 70 minute feature film. A kind of conceptual ghost story, Screamers was conceived during a year-long residency at a former Catholic Church owned by the artist Dan Hurlin in Stuyvesant, NY – and was subsequently filmed over the course of two weeks in September 2015. Screamers can be screened in cinemas, film festivals, galleries and performance spaces; and will ultimately be available for streaming and purchase online.
Written and directed by Brian Rogers. Produced by Madeline Best. Edited by Brian Rogers. Director of photography: Jeff Larson. Production design: Sara C. Walsh. Lighting: Jon Harper. Sound recording: Stephen Bruckert. Sound Mixing and Mastering: Jim Dawson. Dramaturgy and Directorial Consultation: Madeline Best. Music by Brian Rogers. Assistant Production Design: Jessie Bonaventura. Production Assistants: Youree Choi, Ben Demarest, Jonathan Ginter, Kenneth Olguin, Nicole Simonson.
Starring: Andrew Dinwiddie, Jim Findlay, Daniel Fish, Vallejo Gantner, Keely Garfield, Jon Kinzel, Quinn Larson, Molly Lieber, Jay Wegman.
Screamers (the show) is an hour-long live audiovisual performance using many of the ideas and techniques developed in our previous works Hot Box and Selective Memory. Screamers (the show) is designed for contemporary cinemas, but can be easily adapted to other kinds of spaces. It begins in a hyper-spatialized sound environment (generated live using analog modular synthesizers) which is experienced in total darkness. As the performance unfolds, elements of light, shadow, real and imagined details of the space itself are gradually revealed. Through evolving patterns of repetition, and the complex layering of architectural details with high resolution video doppelgangers, Screamers (the show) becomes a meditation on (and distortion of) the space in which it happens, without human intervention. Inspired by Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining and its notion of “architecture as protagonist”, Screamers attempts to conjure the uncertainty, dread and horror contained within, behind and underneath the ordinary details of contemporary cinema spaces; and to capture, somehow, the ghosts lurking in the shadow of the screen – the illusory flicker of life within a lifeless medium.
Screamers is algorithmically sequenced (its structure is semi-random) and utilizes 3-dimensional renderings (captured using modified Kinect equipment) and extensive video footage of the details of each space. These materials (which can be assembled within 1-2 full days of access to the space) are then projection mapped onto the space itself, creating a kind of uncanny simulacrum that, through modulation and repetition, gradually reveals new understandings of the space and the place of the spectator within that space – disturbing the meaning of objects and details that are normally taken for granted.
The music of Screamers (the show) is created using analogue modular synthesizers and is directly inspired by the Wendy Carlos soundtrack for The Shining. Each performance of Screamers (the show) generates an algorithmic score which is then spacialized to suit the details and conditions of each performance space, making particular use of the complex multi-channel sound systems (Dolby or equivalent) that are ubiquitous features of the modern cineplex.
Created by Madeline Best (Director of Photography / Dramaturg), Jon Harper (Lighting Design), Brad Kisicki (Scenic Design), Brian Rogers (Concept / Direction / Music) and Mike Rugnetta (Technology Design). Developed during residencies at The Atlas Institute at the University of Colorado, Yaddo, Bennington College and Mount Tremper Arts.
March 17, 2018 – Preview Screening of Screamers (the film) at The Museum of the Moving Image as part of the Queens World Film Festival