When does sound become music? THE SOUND IS INNOCENT invites you on an audiovisual journey into a dreamlike space that explores the meaning, function and significance of the world of electronic and experimental sound. Across five distinct chapters, the film guides us through an oscillating maze of creative figures and moments that’s as bracingly original as the pioneering music it so passionately documents.
Johana Ožvold’s dynamic and unusual documentary shines new light on some of the fundamental questions of musical creation, tracing the relationship between both man and machine, and artist and instrument. Featuring seminal voices working in the fields of experimental and electronic music including François Bonnet (aka Kassel Jaeger), Steve Goodman (aka Kode9), Julian Rohrhuber, John Richards, Hannes Hoelzl & Alberto De Campo, each artist provides a unique and sometimes personal perspective on the radical periods of sonic invention that have transformed art, culture and even public life.
François BONNET (FR) is a Franco-Swiss composer, writer and theoretician based in Paris. He’s been a member of INA GRM since 2007 and became its director in 2018. He has published several books (The Order of Sounds, a sonorous Archipelago and The Infra-World have been published in English by Urbanomic). His last work to date Après la mort, has been published in 2017 by éditions de l’Eclat. He also produces radio show for national radio France Musique. His music, released, among others, by Editions Mego, has been played in renownedvenues and festivals all over the world.
Steve GOODMAN (UK) aka Kode9 is a DJ, producer and founder of record label Hyperdub on which he has released 3 albums.
In 2009, his book “Sonic Warfare: sound, affect and the ecology of fear” was published on MIT Press. He is a member of sonic research collective AUDINT, and he co-edited their anthology, “Unsound: Undead” which will be published on Urbanomic Press in 2019. He co-runs the monthly experimental club night, Ø in South London.
Julian ROHRHUBER (DE) has been working on philosophy, computer science, anthropology, and media theory. His works include theoretical texts, compositions, installations, performances, and programming systems. As a professor at the Robert Schumann Hochschule Düsseldorf, he teaches music informatics and epistemic media. He is also one of the pioneers of live coding, where programming becomes a way of improvisation and public thought.
John RICHARDS (UK) is a musician performing with self-made electronic instruments and creating interactive environments for composition. As Dirty Electronics, he has produced artwork sound circuits for Mute Records. John sees these physical artefacts as composition in their own right. He has also written on DIY electronic music and maker culture.
Hannes HOELZL (IT) & Alberto DE CAMPO (AT) are musicians, composers, media artists and academic teachers who have been working together since 2002. They are both based in Berlin.
Their shared interests encompass: audio visual cybernetics – creating complex systems and playing with them as interacting observers; collaborative live coding – writing and re-writing code while it already runs; languages – translation processes between sounds, texts, and images; improvisation – with human and machinic actors, delegating and sharing control in multiple ways; interdisciplinary collaborations – with film, visuals, dance theatre, architecture, and various scientific disciplines.
BIOGRAPHY AND FILMOGRAPHY OF THE DIRECTOR
Johana Ožvold graduated from FAMU, the film academy in Prague, department of directing in 2016. She works as a curator at the Czech national film archive, regularly co-operates with the theatre scene and alternative spaces and appears in theatre as an actress, an improviser, a writer, a musician or a director. She collaborates with Czech Radio as a writer and a director of radio plays. Her artistic works are crossing boundaries between fiction and documentary.
Her bachelor student film “Hi, I’m doing fine” won the award for Best Documentary at the IFF Fresh Film Fest 2014, the Mise en scene prize at IFF in Poitiers and the award for Best Documentary at IFF FIDÉ 2014 in Paris. In 2015, she directed the shorts fiction films “Familiar Strangers” and “Process” which received the Special Jury Award at IFF Febiofest SK 2016. Her graduation fiction movie “Black Cake” won the Best Film and Best Director awards at FAMUfest.
Since 2015 she has been working on her first documentary feature-length project “The Sound is Innocent”.
“I have always been interested in the more philosophical questions surrounding arts and music: When does sound become music? What is considered noise? With The Sound is Innocent, I wanted to create a music documentary in which I could play with both audio and visual aspects. Led by the belief that film as a medium offers a possibility to create a new and unique world outside of reality, I started to connect the physically disconnected musical worlds and put them together into one space: a movie.”
Johana OŽVOLD (director)
“My work has started already in the moment of suggesting the main protagonists. To me, these artists represent an original force which allow us to uncover the multiplicity of all matters related to the creation of music, not only as a technologically mediated art, but as well as a metaphor reflecting of the world around us. The organization of the sound material in the film itself is an oscillation between the worlds of sound and music. A vibration on the boundary which actually does not exist.”
Martin OŽVOLD (original music, sound design and content curator)
Special Jury Mention for the Best Documentary Feature at the SEE THE SOUND Competition at festival SoundTrack Cologne
“From the pioneer sound engineers working behind the Iron Curtain, through the French avant-garde composers, up to the post-modern creators of digital sonic artefacts, the first-time filmmaker summons an abstract landscape that is haunting and yet achingly beautiful.”
Giona A. Nazzaro – Selection Committee member Visions du Réel 2019
“Constructed in a unique and dynamic way, The Sound is Innocent is a thoughtful, clever and inventive looks at the history of electronic music.”
Backseat Mafia (UK)
“By the end you begin to agree with the theory that electronic music is architectural. Rather than listen to it, you inhabit it.”
Exposed Magazine (UK)