Capturing the World : Interview with Philip Clemo

Capturing the World : Interview with Philip Clemo

Philip Clemo presents a short film Magnetic exploring magnetism and the forces of attraction around us. It has a much longer duration of over 8 minutes compared to his previous works on Sedition. The artwork articulates Clemo's distinctive ways of combining visual and sound elements as well as his techniques like slow motion and extreme close-up.

With the new launch of Magnetic, we conducted an interview with the artist.

Philip Clemo

In the interview, Clemo talks about ambiguity and abstraction which are re-occurring themes, creative approaches to imagery and soundscapes and what he pursues with his art practice. The artist also discusses the challenges and opportunities that this film brought to him as a longer, comprehensive artwork for Sedition.

“The other works [on Sedition] tend to have one general idea for each work. But this piece, Magnetic, has lots of different changes of direction. The piece of music has a lot of dynamics in it: it has atmospheric elements, quite intense elements, rhythmic elements, and I’m illustrating that with different choices of imagery.” - Philip Clemo

The interview also took the opportunity to bring the sound practice of the artist to the forefront. As a composer and musician, Clemo has released 6 albums including Dream Maps which contains the piece, Magnetic, the soundtrack for this work. 

“When I work with sound, I am taking from all kinds of different sources, whether I work with musicians in the studio, whether I am recording from the natural environment. So I might be going to a Malaysian rainforest and capturing insect recordings there. The microphones may pick up quite a lot of the frequency range of space that I am not hearing with my ears. When I get back to my studio, I can move that frequency range to what I’m listening to. I can start to hear all kinds of frequencies ordinarily beyond human perception. (...) So, a lot of sounds you would hear in my composition might be quite hard to identify. Some of them will be from musical instruments and some of them will be from, who knows what” 

A still from Magnetic by Philip Clemo

Live performances and collaborations with other artists such as cellist Emily Burridge, songwriter Evi Vine, Dr Jonathan Graham and Dr Thomas Moors have also impacted Clemo’s practices. 

“I love the fact that I can play a soundscape to a musician who has never heard a single part of it before. And they will respond and they will do something for the first time. I will bring another musician who hasn’t heard what I did initially or what the other musician responded to. They will end up creating something that amazingly interconnects to the other musician. I could never score that kind of thing or - I could try to - but I would not create something that has the power I get from the musician listening ‘blindly’ to what I’m giving them and then responding to it.”

As Sedition has been working with Clemo for years now, we have published over 30 artworks and multiple articles about him. However, the artist and his artwork constantly lead us to other layers of perspective of our world. The inspiration from his work pushes our boundaries and newly engages us with the objects and surroundings we often take for granted.

Take time to watch Philip Clemo’s interview in which he will give more clarity and understanding about the elements in Magnetic.

Top image: A still from Magnetic by Philip Clemo

More Philip Clemo’s interview:

Mentioned artists
Philip Clemo
Philip Clemo
Followers 879
Artworks 46