Born in Freiburg (Germany), Johannes Contag is a Wellington-based artist currently active in large-ensemble composition, soundtrack production, and live band performance. His interest in experimental film stems largely from his compositional concerns, aiming for the visuals to be an extension of the sound and vice versa. The Twilight Drone is Contag’s only major video work, and is largely informed by his series of instrumental Sleepytime albums. Contag was a core member of Cloudboy, an electro-acoustic ensemble that delivered a series of pioneering live soundtrack events in the late 1990s/early 2000s. These included an international tour of Shape of the Land, a collaboration with the New Zealand Film Archive that saw the band interact with a selection of short documentary films from the 1920s. Contag has recently completed postgraduate studies in composition and orchestration at the New Zealand School of Music, where his large-ensemble works – including the programmatic Starting the Robot (for full orchestra) – attracted several competition prizes, the David Farquhar Award and the 2009 Wellington City Council Music Prize. Contag is currently working on a number of live and recorded soundtrack projects, one of which is a chamber orchestra work to accompany a feature-length silent film. (From Circuit)
On Air: Johannes Contag – The Twilight Drone 2008, 48 min 38 sec "The Twilight Drone is an experimental video that aims to resurrect the concept of the “ambient film” stipulated by Brian Eno. Set to a minimalist soundtrack of steady, undulating organ drones and rhythms, this static-POV video tracks a group of three silhouetted figures moving in a loosely triangular pattern in the snow. One of the figures is an unwitting participant in the others’ choreography, which means the cyclical flow of movement is constantly being renegotiated. The editing of the video, which includes stark contrasts, ghosting, inversions, speed changes, overlays and colour blocks, evokes the bluntly unnaturalistic techniques of 1970s/80s video art. The Twilight Drone is the conclusion of Johannes Contag’s Sleepytime trilogy, the first two being instrumental music albums (You Are Feeling Sleepy, Schlafwandler). As the name infers, the Sleepytime cycle aims to shift the audience’s perceptive faculties into a somnolent state somewhere between meditation and daydream, free from the trappings of the causal intellect." - JC Credits: Filmed, edited and scored by Johannes Contag as part of his Sleepytime series. Cast: Allan Thomasson, Klaus Contag, Lisa Contag, Katharina Contag, George Contag, Gretchen Contag. Filmed in Sibratsgfäll, Austria.
Curators' SpecialPart of the curatorial selection of Circuit Johannes Contag on Amplifier NZ