The story of an hour x Alien (1979)

This is an exercise for my first semester in the Master of Timebased Media.

I chose to work with a short story by Kate Chopin: The story of an hour.

It’s about a woman with a heart weakness who is told that her husband passed away. She cries among relatives and then withdraws to her room where she begins to ponder on the implications of her husbands untimely death. Although he had loved her very much and she knows she will be grieving him more once she sees his body, there is a joy that comes upon her – the joy of freedom. As she realizes that the years to come belonged entirely to her and she embraces this new chapter of her life with all her heart, it unfortunately gives in – she dies of heart failure.

To create a sound from this story, I put myself in her position and performed a vocal improvisation based on the feelings I was experiencing. I also read part of the story in the beginning to get into the mood. In the spirit of musical improvisation practice I added three layers of first take acoustic guitar improvisations, one layer of flute and one layer of maracas, aiming to accompany the vocals and react to different aspects of the improvisation.

While working on the murmuring task I accidentally created something that sounded like an alien, so I murmured over this scene from the movie Alien (1979). When I importet the files into Premiere I got curious to see what would happen if I added my soundtrack from the story to this completely unrelated scene from Alien and was pleasantly surprised how much these two pieces of media work together to create something completely new. Even though the only connection between them is death.

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