Johanis Lyons-Reid - Filmmaker

Cycles is a video installation responding to our collective grief and loss for a way of life, a planet, and a future imagined that will never be seen. Cycles is built around ten imagined stages of grief, with surreal visual representations of each. Apocalyptic vignettes reflect on the mundane horrors of living on the other side of catastrophe, and an inability to contextualise lifeshattering change.

Early on the idea of playing with time, and slowing moments down to infinitesimal blocks became very alluring. There was also a desire to play with elemental materials, as a newly imagined pantheon of elements. In a concrete tomb on a decimated planet powdered milk and toilet paper are more central to our existence than trees and running water. Cycles is at its heart a short film, which portrays a diversity of experience through a collaborative filmmaking process, inviting ideas from cast and crew to represent a multitude of apocalyptic narratives. Cycles explores ideas of liminality, and how quickly the mundane can become horrific.

I was inspired to be a part of ‘_this breath is not mine to keep’ because I found the idea of grieving for our planet both absurd and deeply unsettling. It captures the heart of a global anxiety, that something we take for granted is changing and will be lost within our lifetime. That we may be watching our own demise with apathetic disinterest, and when our denial finally turns to shock it will be too late to make a difference.

Justin Pounsett - Sound Designer

I was drawn and keen to contribute to ‘_this breath is not mine to keep’, because of the scope, breadth and diversity of all the works - but mainly because of the urgent and pertinent nature of its overarching narrative. The notion that we might ‘grieve’ our own annihilation is clearly absurd, but unsettlingly real. How this is reflected and communicated through the soundscapes we produced was extremely engaging. An open brief can often be tricky to navigate, but working closely with Johanis and his clarity with his visual content makes the process far more fluid and focused.

Early on in the process of producing ‘Cycles’ the clear path of using the ultra-slow motion vision to create unsettling soundscapes was obvious. Either hyper-realistic or stylised was yet to be seen. The breakdown of brief moments in time into agonising visceral sequences allows the soundscape to be broken into intricate layers that are always hidden to us. The physical nature of slowing down sound naturally creates the typical, almost demonic low pitched tones and textures. These are always instantly unsettling and foreign to us. How Johanis explained it as “how the quickly mundane can become horrific”, I think is elegant.

The opportunity to craft something unique presented itself in creating textures outside of these frequencies and tones, textures that wouldn’t naturally exist in this space. Layering more emotional information in the sonic space gave it much more impact and interest. What I love about slowing down these moments in time so much, is you are forced to think about, feel and ultimately engage or empathise with that exact moment in time. Some say that time might slow at the moment of our own individual demise - I think there is something very transcendental about that.

CYCLES

10. DON’T DICTATE REVOLUTION

Cycles is a video installation responding to our collective grief and loss for a way of life, a planet, and a future imagined that will never be seen. Cycles is built around ten imagined stages of grief, with surreal visual representations of each.

Apocalyptic vignettes reflect on the mundane horrors of living on the other side of catastrophe, and an inability to contextualise life-shattering change.

Watching our demise with apathetic disinterest as our denial finally turns to shock, will it be too late to make a difference?

Crew and Cast:
Writer/ Director/ DoP/ Editor: Johanis Lyons-Reid
Writer/ Producer: Piri Eddy
Producers: Jen Lyons-Reid & Carl Kuddell
Art Department: Emma Hough Hobbs
Standby Props/Costumes: Ainsley Ewart
Gaff: Tim Carlier
1st Assistant Camer: David Tang
2nd Assistant Camera: Bec Taylor
Hair and Make-up: Ashleigh Richardson
Recordist: Tom Wroblewski
Sound/ Mix: Justin Pounsett
Cast: Benjamin Tamba and Jamila Main

Video installation: 2020.