Noah Angell’s film work involves a close engagement with the language of montage and the limits of this language, exploring the repurposing, re-editing and re-soundtracking of both archival and commercial film footage. In doing so it seeks, through both edit and sound, to release latent or unconscious content in existing material.
Using meticulously careful cuts and repetitions, Angell opens up the footage that he selects in ways that allow hidden grammars of gesture, shot and frame to come into focus. The secret relations between intention and accident that are always captured in the discrete film image, but which are glossed over by the continuous and rapid change of the complete film, are here allowed space to unfurl.
In Morteau, Angell’s concentrated deployment of the edit acts as both a precision tool for the dissection and re-stitching of the image, and also as a resonant sounding device that draws from its fragmented source an abyssal echo. This resonant ghost-space is already present within the image, and it is the montage that taps into it, revealing what already dwells there. In each die I dawn, the edit folds fade-ins and fade-outs together into a quick, shifting sequence. Reduced to an array, this standard cinematographic technique has its familiarity stripped away, and begins to look deeply strange; in Angell’s hands, it is transformed into a compulsive, exhausted blinking that seems signals a deep ambivalence toward the filmic image itself, as though in fact the camera’s true desire was to close off the light and look away from its subject.
Re-soundtracking performs a related function, as an alternative and sometimes apparently incongruous sonic message gently interlaces itself with the visual sense of the film material, allowing the potential messages that had lain dormant in both sound and image to emerge as original meaning. The works sometimes comment on the material they utilise, while in other places they are angled toward broader concerns; sometimes they subvert the original footage and drive it to make statements it never intended, while at other times they work with it to sharpen and deepen it, making a spectral poetry of its prose. – Francis Gooding