First, there is music. Then, images—sapphire and emerald shapes emerging from beneath the ocean’s light. Finally, a mermaid appears. We are taken on a journey across continents—from Africa to subways of an unknown city.
It took five years, four 74-minute films, 33 filmmakers, 300 participants, 12 musicians and several continents to create TRIP, a multimedia film presentation set to a progressive rock song track. Reminiscent of a psychedelic “trip,” TRIP, the brainchild of German artists/musicians Frank Otto and Bernard Bernt Kohler-Adam, is ultimately a celebration of creativity.
The collaborative, improvisational multimedia extravaganza began in Germany when 33 filmmakers interpreted a single musical composition in different ways. The four movies are the result: improvised images set to music.
What does it mean? It’s abstract, cerebral, at once serious and playful. Ultimately, the artists provide clues but leave interpretation to the audience. “We started an experiment that only finds its conclusion with the perception of the viewer,” says Otto.
The first film, Artwork, is a sequel to the story of The Little Mermaid explored in a recent Otto work. The second, Seamusic, combs underwater images from exotic coral reefs. Playing Planet is an unscripted documentary that takes the viewer around the world. The final film, Track 2, presents a surreal world of images, stories and sounds.
Otto—an artist, musician and German broadcasting entrepreneur—is now at work on other projects, including paintings set to songs written by Lew Soloff, former trumpet player for Blood Sweat & Tears. The project is inspired by another classic, Moby Dick.
While a sequel to TRIP is in the making, the original is still garnering new audiences and awards. TRIP has played at Cannes Film Festival, won the “Angel of Film” award at Silverlake’s Film Festival, and is a 2008 finalist in Chicago’s DomeFest awards.