At one time, in the early years of the cinema, this new medium was given a poetic name in German: electric shadows. Even a century later, the species of moving images more or less lives up to this name in spite of all its technological mutations. Michaela Grill and Martin Siewert´s trans is a good example of this: It is a work of shadows and silhouettes, a rediscovery of electronic cinema as abstract painting.
The fleeting nature of the images is its underlying design: gray outlines against a white background; lines, grids and fields flit past, phantoms of reality caught in an intermediate zone of computer hard drives. Rather than fluently, trans proceeds in steps, in a series of single images. The movement does not take place within the images themselves, but between them. The music is an equal partner in this progression. The main intention of Martin Siewert´s ingenious soundtrack is not so much to accompany the visuals, but to enrich them, to expand upon and complement them, to provide a contrast: There are ominous creeks, crackles and rumbles, and at the conclusion the hint of a melody, a synthetic bass line, can be heard.
The restraint with which the means were employed defines this work, the colors of which even seem to have been subjected to radical control: from the gray of the first part to the second´s subdued shades of green and blue. The dramatic function of the darkening of repeated footage, while the pulse of the editing seems to increase in intensity, is distantly reminiscent of the rhythms of Dietmar Brehm´s films. trans is a work of reciprocal merging and overlapping. Its main place of action is the space between two images, and its defining order is the neither-nor of two positions interlocking.
Translation: Steve Wilder
With trans, Martin Siewert and I used the 5 act structure of classical drama to create an atmosphere of in-between-ness and levitation. I found these old photographs of a harbor that totally embodied this emotion (also the sadness and melancholy of parting and saying goodbye). So I used them as my starting images and worked through the layers of the images, scratched away the unnecessary until I reached the essence.