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Soundtrack Mix #26: Inmemory: A Letter to Chris Marker

An exploration of the soundtracks of the films of Chris Marker.
Florence Scott-Anderton
The work of Chris Marker reminds me to seek the childlike inquisitiveness still possible in life, to dive into the aching questions I have and map out the world, and to enter into places even if I have never traveled there. For someone as sensitive as I am to the letter as a format with infinite possibility, its feel as a relic lost in time and an exciting art form, Marker's epistolary and essayistic approach to storytelling has been a guiding force of audio/visual possibilities.
A typewriter rustles in the background and traditional Siberian chant plays as still shots of desolate and beautiful Russian landscape opens one of the sonic scenes in this mix. As we hear the narrator of  Letter from Siberia (1957), still shots of silver birch trees glow over pockets of forgotten communities. Mapping out textures through camera, through virtual reality, through narration and correspondence, Marker transcended mediums to connect world-spanning letters.
In this mix we cross through continents, processions marching, carnivals, messages of love and questions of the state of the world, often sent telepathically as fragments of dreams. A cat follows everywhere, as do strings (Tōru Takemitsu’s graceful ones appears for a time), the bustle of synths inside the new stories of bubble cities, legends of past heroes and old stories are told through hidden histories, a world of old essays retold in new contexts. The mix weaves in and out of these stories as Marker would edit a film.
In the mix there is no melodic trajectory; instead, it features a collage of people wandering parts of the globe in a disparate nature, speaking different languages, holding hidden thoughts as crazed analogue machines jostle kinetically.
Chris Marker paved the way for artists and filmmakers from across the spectrum. His early internet archival projects can be seen as decades ahead of internet art, spearheading movements ahead of their time. So in Marker fashion, this mix scatters the memories, the dust of sounds and dialogue of his moving-image work in a spiral collage. Never focusing on one era or theme, it sonically drifts across different parts of the planets, secret messages and loud political feeling combined with cats playing the piano.
  1. Sans Soleil (1983) edit 00:00
  2. E-Clip-Se (1999) edit 06:00
  3. If I Had Four Dromedaries (1966) edit 10:00
  4. Inmemory (1997) edit 11:00
  5. 2084 (1984) edit 11:30 edit
  6. Cat Listening to Music (1988) edit 13:20
  7. The Loneliness of the Long Distance Singer (1974) edit 16:00
  8. Tokyo Days (1988) edit 18:30
  9. Théorie des ensembles edit 23:30
  10. Sunday in Peking (1956) edit 27:30
  11. The Lovely Month of May (1963) edit 29:10
  12. Tokyo Days (1988) edit 34:40
  13. Letter from Siberia (1957) edit 37:30
  14. Owl Gets in Your Eyes (1994) edit 38:00
  15. Letter from Siberia (1957) edit 41:30
  16. Junkopia (1981) edit 44:00
  17. The Koumiko Mystery (1965) edit 49:30
  18. Sans Soleil (1983) edit 51:00
  19. The Loneliness of the Long Distance Singer (1974) edit 53:00
  20. Statues Also Die (1953) edit 56:00
  21. The Koumiko Mystery (1965) edit 57:05
  22. Mémoires pour Simone (1986) edit 59:00
  23. La jetée (1962) edit 60:00
  24. Sans Soleil (1983) edit 62:00

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AudioSoundtrack MixesSoundtracksChris Marker
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