The following interview was published on Artslant in May 2013:
Chicago, Apr. 2013: Guy Ben-Ner began with an idea. He wanted to divorce a soundtrack from a film, then make a new film that accommodated the appropriated soundtrack. The idea provided a mechanism, defining the rules of a game which would yield Ben-Ner’s latest work, Soundtrack. He decided to appropriate eleven minutes of sound from Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds. In Ben-Ner’s version the world is not ending exactly, rather his kitchen erupts into chaos. The sound of rain in the Spielberg movie is described by a frying egg in Ben-Ner’s, just as the Hollywood sounds of robots are explained in Soundtrack by way of an everyday blender. Ben-Ner embodies the voice of lead as his three children, ages eighteen, fifteen and two, play their own parts in the score. His parents also make a debut appearance, as well as friends and Yaara Shehori, the mother of the two-year old child. Having enlisted this cast, Ben-Ner wrote, directed and edited the resulting film, intentionally emphasizing a disconnect between the overarching soundtrack and the visual actions that fulfill it. The effect is breathtaking—a ballet of everyday gestures in which a fried egg plays as much of a principle role as the children themselves. Consider also the lineage of this work: a piece originally written in 1938 by HG Wells; reworked for radio by Orson Welles and broadcast in 1938; to the 2005 adaptation by Spielberg; and now Ben-Ner’s translation in 2013. As with much of the artist’s work, he plucks up tales in the collective consciousness, borrowing the readymade structure of a family and grafting it onto the folk story of alien invasions and apocalypse. These structures provide an exterior framework within which Ben-Ner explores his own status as a divorced father failing to achieve a sense of order. Ben-Ner adeptly explores the relationship between global and familial worlds, between sound and image, between the impersonal and personal spheres of influence, begging the question of individual agency.
Soundtrack‘s U.S. premier took place at Chicago’s Aspect Ratio from March 15th to April 26th, 2013.