Frances Scott: Valentina

A black and white film still of a white woman with short hair in front of a black background. She is shown in profile and the image is cropped in close, filling most of the frame.
Frances Scott, Valentina (2020), 3 minutes 55 seconds 16mm transfer to digital, black and white, stereo. Image courtesy the artist

As part of Frances Scott’s research residency at TACO! an online screening event for short film, Valentina (2020) was followed by an in conversation event with writer Beth Bramich.

Valentina is a prelude to Wendy, a speculative portrait of, and film fan-letter to, composer and musician Wendy Carlos – self-described as “The Original Synth”. In Valentina, an unedited 100ft reel of hand-processed 16mm film, shot in rehearsal, is used as a silent score for a reading. Performer and dancer Valentina Formenti recalls part of a transcribed interview with Carlos, later edited for publication in ‘Playboy’ in 1979. Whilst the magazine interview was seen as the first public announcement of Carlos’ gender transition, these absent passages, excluded from the final edit, include her connected interests in cartography, physics, mathematics, transformations, astronomy, and her practice in solar eclipse photography. Valentina’s multiple voices are translated through Vocoder, and collaged with musician Tom Richards’ performance on Daphne Oram’s unrealised ‘Mini-Oramics’, to suggest a coming into being through sonic synthesis.

‘…imagining a world without gender, which is perhaps a world without genesis, but maybe also a world without end.’ (Donna Haraway, ‘A Manifesto for Cyborgs’, Socialist Review, no.80, 1985)

Frances was joined by Beth to discuss her research around Carlos’ work and collaborations, in particular her arrangements for film soundtracks and use of the Vocoder (Voice-Encoder). They spoke about exploring new readings of the histories of cinema through archival materials, and how emerging themes of synthesis and eclipse will appear in the final film.

Wendy will be shown in a solo exhibition at TACO! in early 2022, accompanied by a new book work published with An Endless Supply. Valentina was also screened at Transmediale, Berlin in January 2021 alongside a filmed performance of a score in-progress for Wendy by musician, Tom Richards.

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