In 2008, documentary director Dave Davidson was in production with his biopic, "HANS RICHTER: Everything Turns – Everything Revolves". The film traces Richter’s epic journey across two centuries at the forefront of one artistic revolution after another. From the inception of the Dada movement in 1916 until his death in 1976, Richter was a provocateur of a new social art, alternating between the platforms of painting, film, essay and lecture. Richter’s revolutionary films of the 1920s, ranging from 2 minutes to 14 minutes, were arguably his greatest contribution to the field. Short as they were, it was impossible for the sake of story, to fit any of the films into the documentary in their entirety. According to Davidson, “It felt like we were ripping a painting in half. The viewer only sees part of the work”. Rather than relegate the films to being DVD “extras” or leaving viewers to search the internet to seek them out, Davidson chose to archive them on one site in such a way that people could watch and even interact with them. During his lifetime Richter was the consummate collaborator and orchestrator. He partnered with many of the legendary artists of his time including Sergei Eisenstein, Man Ray, Fernand Leger, Max Ernst, Alexander Calder and Marcel Duchamp. Since Richter thrived on collaboration during his life, why not allow contemporary artists to interact with him through the dynamic imagery of his films – a collaboration through time? Many of the original films were silent and others had musical scores by the likes of Hindemith and Milhaud that have been lost to time. This left the audio dimension as the perfect stage for new artistic conversations. Davidson showed the films to a wide range of composers and sound artists, asking them if they would be interested in “rescoring” one of the films. The reaction was immediate and enthusiastic. With two Artworks grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Davidson has also produced short documentary modules in which the composers discuss their process of creating new psychological space combining Richter’s vibrant montage with their soundscapes. The results are diverse and inspiring. According to Davidson, “We don’t want the Rescoring Richter site to be a set piece. It has to be kinetic and self-perpetuating. That’s why we have designed it to be an open-ended platform, so that people who work in the area of music and sound design can upload their own soundscapes”.
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