Elaine Smollin ‘Vision Scored For Voice: Films by Julia Dogra-Brazell’ (2015)

Elaine Smollin at her studio in Brooklyn, 2005
Earlier on the day we met, I found myself suspended on a scaffold beneath a 1905 ceiling, repainting angels in a small town American church, built in the age of revolutions. Knowing that later that night, I’d meet Julia Dogra-Brazell, a film and sound artist,  in anticipation of meeting her, I repainted the sorrowful faces of angels with smiles, in hopes that children would  from that point on, associate images with happiness.

Within hours, I discovered the many ways Julia creates harmony among opposing states of being. She works with myriad forms of filmic solitude and soliloquy that, poised on the threshold of liberty from history, play harbinger to a dangerous liaison with destiny, calculated yet unforeseen.

Whether through a rush of sequential poetics or her poetical sense of time across epochs, as was clear at our first meeting, Julia draws an arc between the spark and flames.

At times, the rapid succession of flickering images, seem to fall in layers as if torn. Amongst the shattered ecologies of image, we catch a glimpse of something gleaned from the modern unconscious.

Julia casts an unseen actor in her films, a voice whose elliptical appearances, you will find, are at once intensely individualistic and indelibly universal. This voice is a spectral confidant, speaking, yet always unseen, aware that her role will be recast. She is a vocal sketch of a soliloquy, dependent upon images for her existence. “Esse est percipi”. To be is to be perceived.

As one of the authors of that voice, I can speak for the transformative experience of portraying a plane of consciousness for a filmmaker.

Julia will spin for you a series of rhymes in image to which she scored my voice in a series of acrobatic tasks – to trip knowingly yet innocently among ruins while speaking in anticipation of multiple joys and ever in search of the rites of spontaneous renewal of our faith in the filmic arts.

© Elaine Smollin 2015