The Water Catalog

Water Catalogue Linear Video 1984

1984, 27:30 min, color, sound

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A lyrical fusion of hypnotic images, original music and spoken narrative text, The Water Catalogue is a meditation on the power and poetry of water. In this impressionistic "video album," Seaman explores the mythic and everyday connotations of water, establishing its erotic kinship with the human body and representing it as a symbol for emotional, psychological and physical states. Shot in Super-8 film and video, Seaman's processed, slowed and otherwise altered visuals take on metaphorical life. Through his fluid, sensual manipulation of sound and visuals, Seaman distills water to its most elemental form. Camera: Bill Seaman, Glorianna Davenport (swimmer section). Music: Bill Seaman. A Bill Seaman Production in association with The Contemporary Art Television (CAT) Fund. A project of The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, and The WGBH/New Television Workshop. (Description courtesy Electronic Arts Intermix)

In the Water Catalogue I was exploring water in different states to reflect different emotional states. I experimented with a kind of structural editing where if I had repetitive music I could play with the speed of the video and match certain repetitions in the image. This is especially true in the water sprinkler section where I found a way to sinc the image with a repeating synthetic rhythm. This was also the case in the image of the car and the image of the swimmer. This enabled me to cross very electronic rhythms to be crossed with organic images which had been slowed down to pulse speed.

Concepts: nature/man, rhythm, pulse, emotional states, punning and word play, and popular music abstractions.