What is Loss?
Loss is a discontinuous story, told from a number of perspectives, over an inconsistent timeline. Loss is the story of ‘her’ and ‘him’ and how they chose to exist and act in worlds close to, but not the same as each other. Loss is set in Tokyo, Paris, New York and Sydney, but doesn’t really concern itself with these cities.
There are a number of recurring motifs in Loss. Black ribbons, dirty scars, sour umeboshi and bright flames. They represent hiding places, consequences, sensations and redemptions, and not in that order, and perhaps not what they seem. Each piece has its own momentum and sense of motion, a contrast between the reflective narration of the characters and the need to move on, forget and get on with life.
Using a variety of found objects as its base, Loss is a multimedia artefact with works in sound, video, writing and images. The notion of found is fundamental to the work, as something that is lost can eventually be found. Using a bricoleur’s sensibility and a DIY approach to construction and editing, Peter improvised sounds, images and video, remixed and repurposed them for this project. Both the videos and the sounds draw heavily on the abstract and concrete notions of found. Each soundtrack is a mix of new compositions mixed with found sounds from around the world, not recorded specifically for this project and found on stacks of old minidiscs, tapes, hard drives and videos.
The same methodology was applied to the video footage. The majority of the footage used in each video was not shot for the project. It was selected from hundreds of hours of footage shot as Peter travelled the world. Some of it was tourist footage; other pieces were simply something interesting or odd things that caught the eye at the time. The footage was shot on a range of digital cameras with a variety of qualities and compositions. Some of it is shaky, handheld and oddly composed.
The sounds were composed as the vehicle for the words. As the majority of characters are female, Peter experimented with a number of options including pitch shifting his own voice and use the increasingly sophisticated text to speech engines, but settled on human voices sourced through the fiverr website, a platform where people sell small size services for US$5. Intuitive and committed performances from AK, Lynx and Astrid provide a resonance to the emotional spirals each character has committed to.
The gestation of the soundscape style of the sounds originated 7 years ago in the bedroom of Peter’s flat in Petersham, Australia, with bass guitar, an old casiotone keyboard and a borrowed delay unit as his only instruments. Once he started working with found sounds as part of his old radio show ‘fabrication de bruit’, linking and fracturing the op-shop and outsider music he was playing, he saw an application to the formative idea he had for linking a number of half sketched pieces of writing in his trusty Moleskine, and they became integral to the Loss project. Drum beats from clanking escalators, church bells ringing 360 degrees around a city, the click-clack of heels on a cobbled street, train announcements at Gare du Nord in Paris and Pachinko parlours in Ikebukuro. Now based in his flat in London, the sounds have grown more sonically complex, and drawn from a variety of digital and analogue instruments.