Michael Nyman: Man With a Movie Camera set for 2013 Edinburgh Festival
Installation of ten film remakes by the composer, filmmaker and photographer
This article is from 2013.
This installation of ten movie remakes by the composer, filmmaker and photographer Michael Nyman is the first exhibition of his work ever to be held in Scotland. Based on the 1929 documentary Man With a Movie Camera, these ten works (all sharing a Nyman soundtrack) will be shown simultaneously in Summerhall’s Upper Church Gallery alongside the iconic original by Dziga Vertov and his wife and editor, Yelizaveta Svilova. Visitors will be able to walk around the screens and monitors to see all ten of the remakes with Vertov’s original, or to watch them from a single viewpoint.
Man With a Movie Camera was Vertov’s first full-length film, in which he documents urban life in the Soviet Union using all the cinematic techniques available to him – dissolves, split-screen, slow motion and freeze-frames – to create a work that was extraordinary in its inventiveness at the time. Nyman’s remakes mirror Vertov’s original documentary through reconstructed scenes, keeping true to the original documentary values while still creating very different work.
Nyman says that his own work echoes the principles of Vertov’s in shooting life caught unawares, but as his own footage has been captured all over the world, there is less of a continuous narrative: that sense is mirrored in Nyman’s music as he samples and mixes pieces by other composers. As a nod to other work that inspires Nyman, Summerhall will also be exhibiting a small selection of his collected Mexican and South American art alongside the films.
Summerhall, 2–31 Aug.