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Interactive Documentary Archive

Overheated Symphony

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By: Sarah Turner
Project type: collaborative live gallery event Web


Overheated Symphony was created by artist and film director Sarah Turner and sound designer Annabelle Pangbourn during the Birds Eye View Film Festival 2008 (

They invited all women around the world to participate to their project by making a quick flick, between 40 seconds and 4 minutes long, on their mobile phone, and t osend it to them via the Internet. The theme that they selected was OVERHEATED (which developed in sub-themes such as: domestic technologies (cooking/boiling etc), sun/ light, burning/fire,’pressures of life': routine/work/transport, etc).

Sarah Turner and Annabelle Pangbourn then finally edited live all the short films that they received during a final showing at the ICA – as part of the Birds Eye View Film Festival.

Find out more:

Watch the final cut of Overheated Symphony on YouTube, or just here below.

Read more about the project: Overheated Symphony’s blog.

My comments:

I did not go to the live mix of Overheated Symphony, so it is quite difficult for me to comment of the project (any person that did go: please do send me a comment!).

From what I read, and from the final mix that is available on YouTube, I find the project innovative, yet restricted in its interactivity. Although women did send their videos they have no control on the final use of their footage, and I wonder if they mind about this.

I can understand the challenge for experimental filmmaker Sarah Turner to mix live content that she has not produced, and I think the final film does show the multi-presence of the different filmmakers that have participated, but I wonder who is to benefit from the final film.

Is it a tour de force? But of whom?

Is it meaningful as a stand alone movie? to whom? the partecipators, Sarah Turner or us – the external viewers?

And is it a documentary? Probably yes, in the large definition of the term, yes: it is a documentation of women’s feeling of “overheating” mixed by a third person.

Something though, is still puzzling me. I cannot help thinking that it is a use of collaborative energy for the sake of a single author… and somehow this disturbs me.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

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