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A beautiful collaboration between musician and filmmaker Elori Saxl, movement artist Emma Portner, and dancer/choreographer Justin DeJager. Playing with the idea of “threading” and the use of negative space, “Wave II” captures a series of intricate movements set to music made from digitally-processed recordings of water combined with analog synthesizers and chamber orchestra. The choreography emerged from the pre-established rhythm Emma and Justin have developed from working together, as well as Emma’s personal interest in puzzles and games. As she explains further:

“It’s almost cat’s cradle 2.0 because we’ve added an adult relation to something kind of inextricably linked to being known as a ‘child’s game.’ There’s also a very natural back and forth to this. A transference per se. so it felt really right to have the sound be something water related because it’s never stagnant.”

As for Elori, the footage of Emma and Justin (originally made in silence) paired perfectly with the themes she was exploring musically, namely the complex and ever-changing nature of our interpersonal boundaries — the distance between people, the ways we drift apart and crash into each other, shifting one another’s course like rippling waves:

“When I was putting together music videos for The Blue of Distance, we started talking about the possibility of her making one of the music videos, but with Covid, it was feeling pretty impossible logistically. And then Emma found all of this lost footage from the original film she’d made that never came out, and we basically realized that even though she and Justin had danced in silence while they were filming, their movement fit together with the music perfectly. The tempos were the same, the tone was the same, and even the smaller dance movements seemed to mimic smaller musical gestures. So throughout the whole process, there was this magical thing happening where the music and the dance seemed to just fit together. Like there was a real transference between music and movement. And it feels quite fitting that the entire collaboration has happened long distance and has survived deleted hard drives, lost footage, and a year of almost exclusively virtual human interaction.”


Directed/danced/improvised/choreographed: Emma Portner & Justin Dejager
DPs: David Kim & Alex Rapine
Edit: Elori Saxl
Color: Alex Munro
Written & Recorded by Elori Saxl
Violin, Viola: Finnegan Shanahan
Cello: Helen Newby
Clarinet: Kristina Teuschler
Flute: Sarah Carrier
Oboe: Erin Lensing
Bassoon: David Nagy
Everything else: Elori Saxl
Mixed by Zubin Hensler
Mastered by Taylor Deupree
Released on Western Vinyl


This video was submitted by Emma Portner and Elori Saxl and selected by our team. Click here if you have a project you’d like us to check out!

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