INSIGHT TREKS: way of the dreamer is a feature-length documentary about the sites and sounds of an extraordinary landscape that's transparent to the eye; a sonic landscape architecture made with pitches of frequency -- drones that you can hum along with -- enigmatic sounds that are deeply felt. Sound that can alter and affect the way you think and dream.
I'll tell you more about the acoustic nature of the special places I've investigated in Canada in just a moment. If you've got headphones handy, please put them on (although the demos will sound fine on regular speakers).
INSIGHT TREKS has an immersive 3D soundtrack authentic to the sense of place. Yes, I've got all the pictures, the video, and location audio -- I've been visiting special places for many years -- now it's time to put all the content and stories together in post-production and complete the film. With your help, I'll have it done by spring (the end of April, early May in this part of the world).
I've spent a lot of my professional life in public broadcasting in Canada. Part of my job was to crisscross the country and
visit places of sanctuary; many are surprisingly not listed on the map -- it
took me over a decade to learn why. I used my craft to document what I found
and recorded on the land, and what it might mean. As you've likely figured out,
I've been at this for a long while.
THEMES & PARTICIPANTS
What follows is a thread of magazine articles & academic papers, pictures & short films, links to blogs & public talks, a 3D audio demonstration (highly recommended), and the music & soundscapes I've created as part of the development stream toward making INSIGHT TREKS: way of the dreamer.
"There's something about this place," a short film about LEROY LITTLE BEAR's impressions of Writing-On-Stone and other enigmatic locations...
HEAR IMPRESSIONS inspired by the persistent wind over the old stones at OMAHK. The 'medicine wheel' is older than Stonehenge and the pyramids. While it seems to serve a similar purpose (a map of the heavens), the sound of the place tells another story. Listen with headphones for the surround of 3D audio.
WATCH SHORT DEMO (below) and listen how the beating of a single frame drum circles the Old, Big 'medicine wheel' then is joined by others in a dance of geometry and flickering light. A 3D audio proof-of-concept for INSIGHT TREKS: way of the dreamer, the soundscape also sounds fine on regular speakers.
THE MEMORY STONES
I was thinking of calling my feature-length documentary The Memory Stones, a 'working title' for a series of short experimental films I made over the past few years. You can see why (below). The way of the dreamer, however, is more in keeping with what I learned about spirit-filled locations in Canada; they're connected to each other. Long before Native Americans arrived on the scene, there's evidence that people travelled great distances to contemplate them -- going from place to place to place -- what I think of as insight treks.
RON BELL (above to the right) is a retired provincial park official and interpretive guide at Whiteshell Park in Manitoba. For ten years, I had been attempting to visit the effigy stones in the back country that's off-limits for the casual tourist (if you're lucky enough to find it on your own). Ron was good enough to take me into the bush, and tell of his fascination with a particularly numinous spot, he says, that's "lonely for human company." It's true. And I learned that special places have personalities, as individual as you and me. WATCH & LISTEN to Ron beat on one of the huge and low-pitched drumming stones that have been placed atop a table of sheer granite that extends far beyond the eye.
SECOND ONLY to the Dead Sea in salinity, the mineral water of Manitou Lake in the province of Saskatchewan is renowned for its therapeutic properties. And in the nearby town of Watrous, a first for Canada: the oldest stained glass window in the country; it has a curious history dating back to before The Reformation...
THE COMMEMORATIVE PLAQUE reads:
"During the Civil War between King Charles 1st of England and Oliver Cromwell, the window was removed and buried for safe-keeping against Puritan vandalism following the Restoration."
And there it remained until 1912, when it was shipped across the ocean from the United Kingdom in 2,000 pieces. The interior sound of All Saints Church is lovely, but what attracted my ear is the nearby Co-Op store and a series of mechanical drones that I harmonized with using a vintage 1909 portable pump organ. LISTEN WITH HEADPHONES for a refreshing sonic tonic (regular speakers work fine, too).
SPEAKING OF BELLS: imagine the sound of chimes – eleven bronze bells in all — ringing out from the oldest public building in Canada’s first national park in the Rocky Mountains. Click on the link to hear my recordings from inside the belfry of St. George’s-in-the-Pines in Banff, where I played a unique and rare clavier keyboard; the complex of levers and pulleys activate the peal of bells in the tower.
I've been interested in the sonic architecture of bells, chimes, and gongs of every sort. I was reading a 19th century argument for keeping bell ringers on call 24/7 in a church parish in France during thunderstorms. And I wondered why people believed that ringing bells might have any affect on the weather. But turning the question around (having learned a few things from my Harmony of the Square project), I wondered what kind of affect the ringing of bells was having on people. I took this 3D recording I made of a ground-shaking lightning storm at a remote ‘special place’ (Top of the World wilderness park in British Columbia) and added a drone of chimes to find out what the psychoacoustics of the presentation was doing to people (volunteers for an experiment at a neuroscience laboratory).
My colleagues and I at the Neuroscience Research Group at Laurentian University, where I’m an associate researcher, learned how the drones served as a calmative. By adding drones – akin to peels of bells – what was once unpleasant became pleasant – brainwaves were changed.
SOUND LANDSCAPE MEMORY: I've given several public talks on sonic architecture and how I think our ancestors used it to embed cultural memory. Sound never ages. A sonic pitch -- the note C, for instance -- is immutable, if the conditions that give rise to that pure frequency are maintained; it's an ideal carrier wave for cultural memory. Here's a version of my sonic landscape architecture 'talk' given during a conference on sustainability...
DEMONSTRATION OF 3D AUDIO mix of conventional stereo, monophonic, and kuntskopf binaural-microphone sources. My six minute soundscape is here. This was the culmination of a creative breakthrough, after many experiments with 3D sound (notably during a self-directed residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts); the demo was made for a public broadcaster. Please wear headphones (and listen for the white dog…)
THE SOUND OF THRUMMING outlines an acoustic map of wilderness (a 'teaser' excerpt from INSIGHT TREKS that needs to be sweetened with 3D audio post-production -- with your support!) Karsten Heuer is a wildlife biologist & author. Along with his wife & filmmaker Leanne Allison, the couple tracked and followed as best they could an endangered herd of caribou on its annual spring migration to the Arctic - an arduous trek that lasted many months and over thousands of miles of wilderness. Many frustrating weeks went by -- often the herd went inexplicably missing. And then something happened...
You can help me complete
the film. Just pick a level in the right hand column and click to donate — it
only takes a minute…
I think you'll like the rewards. The films and music, for one, will make great gifts for the holiday ahead -- treat yourself or that special someone you know. And, yes, I'll get right on top of fullfillment once the Kickstarter campaign is completed.
Risks and challenges
First, let me say thank you for reading, watching, and listening to all the info I posted above; I hope it piques your interest and appreciation for the core ingredients I have to work with in post-production.
I have the professional skill set to complete the project. I recorded all the video and sound, edited, mixed it, and as a musician composed and played everything you heard, thus far, in my presentation. And I have all the technical gear to complete post-production, create the 3D soundtrack, and deliver the final film.
While I don't expect to have any major obstacles, I do need to make a few pick-ups -- the gurgle, snap & pop of a frozen lake, comes to mind; the first rays of returning sun during the winter solstice at a special place; the electromagnetic crackling sound of the aurora borealis, the 'northern lights' at a remote location that's difficult to get to in the best weather -- your support will afford me the time to do it.
25K is the minimum I require to take the next step with INSIGHT TREKS: way of the dreamer. That said, the plan is to have the feature-length documentary ready for screening by the early going of May 2014, the latest.
In keeping with the spirit of the holiday season ahead, I will fulfill all the Kickstarter rewards in a jiffy. And I'll work closely with you if you want to surprise that special someone on your gift list.
Along with the rewards above, I'll send by regular mail, a personal thank you POSTCARD (fronted with an attractive image from the film). You'll also receive regular E-MAIL UPDATES during the post-production of INSIGHT TREKS: way of the dreamer.
All of the above, plus a PERSONAL PHONE CALL to discuss the progress of the film; links to DIGITAL DOWNLOADS of prior TELEVISION SHOWS I've made, such as Chants Encounter (a film about harmonic overtone chanting, shot in splendid locations around the world) and Haunted House, Haunted Mind (the science of my spirit-filled home in the Rocky Mountains), You'll also get links to SHORT OUT-TAKES from INSIGHT TREKS as the film gets shaped in post-production.
Everything you see above, plus a SPECIAL DONORS CIRCLE thank you CREDIT in the finished film, and a PERSONAL VIDEO call (by Skype) to acknowledge your generous support; along with private links to a FIRST LOOK at SHORT VIGNETTES from the film (as they're completed in post-production).
All of the above rewards, plus an opportunity to PARTICIPATE in the CREATIVE PROCESS; you’ll be able to make COMMENTS & SUGGESTIONS that I will take into serious consideration during Insight Trek's post-production. And you'll receive a CONSULTING EDITOR CREDIT in the final film. I'll also give a CLASSROOM/CONFERENCE TALK (via Skype) to a group of your choice about my investigations and sonic landscape architecture.
All the rewards, thus far, plus an ASSOCIATE PRODUCER CREDIT in the film. I will also personally MEET & GIVE A TALK to a group of your choice, and SCREEN THE FILM (kindly note travel to your event and accommodation is not included in this reward).
All my Kickstarter rewards, plus an EXECUTIVE PRODUCER credit in the film (welcome to the creative team!). I'll also take you on a PERSONAL GUIDED TOUR to one of Insight Trek's outstanding locations; you'll see and hear and FEEL THE SONIC LANDSCAPE architecture - a trip you won't soon forget (kindly note your travel and accommodation costs are not provided in this reward).