"Solhund" by Serena Niesley, Chrystine Rayburn, Michael Wambolt, and Patrick Glennon
For this issue of CabinFever Presents, film-maker and visual artist Serena Niesley teamed up with musicians Chrystine Rayburn, Michael Wambolt, and Patrick Glennon to create a non-narrative audio-visual piece that explores the contrasts between exterior and interior, the reality of winter and the memory of summer. The artists’ collaborative approach aligns with CabinFever’s typical creative framework: the film-maker and musicians composed together and separately, inviting responsiveness between the two different mediums while leaving each participant room for individual expression. The end result features visuals and sounds that summon seemingly irreconcilable emotions and feelings, brought together and mapped out through a non-verbal language.
A solhund, or sundog, is a spot of light in the sky caused by the refraction of sunlight by crystals of ice suspended in the air. This project is the aural and visual exploration of contrasts between exterior and interior, the reality of winter and the memory of summer.
Conceptualized and created in the depths of February, Solhund is a multi-media meditation on the contradictory yet co-existing sensations we experience during moments of winter: the interplay between exterior darkness and the light of homes and gathering places; the transformation of long walks that begin cold and grow warm, the heat generated by overcoats made more confusing by the chill that continues to strike the nose and eyes.
Niesley pieced the film using snippets drawn from her life:
“As a visual artist, wherever I go, I am gathering. I am drawn to simple images, rich in potential metaphor; evocative, yet open to interpretation. From my collection of clips, I am able to collage, layer, and blend these various metaphors into a new sentiment or arch. I wanted this film to evoke this feeling of longing and nostalgia for what is to come and what was, woven in with moments of the exhilarating and perhaps overwhelming present."
Rayburn, Wambolt, and Glennon compiled different sonic influences together in their effort to compliment and build upon Niesley’s vision. Ambient passages give way to slowly evolving piano and clarinet duets, pulsating electronic percussion warps into woodland-tinged 12-string guitar finger picking.
Glennon: "Writing music with an artist working in a different medium breaks down insularity and helps me adjust and embrace the unimagined result. For all the seriousness, humor wins during collaboration, and the unintended peculiarities become the most important components."