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December 2012

The visual world of Alden Volney

By Film, Music


While collecting experimental video clips for the first Desert Dust Cinema in Lobo/Texas, I somehow stumbled across the clip “EDVARD GRIEG – Morning mood from ‘Peer Gynt’ Suite No1” by French guy Alden Volney, of which I never had heard before. At first, I had the impression that this was a treasure of a long forgotten past of the early film age, and Alden had just put this found footage on the web.

But as there was more to watch on his Vimeo page, I soon noticed that I was entering the own visual aesthetics of a true original artist. It felt like stepping into a new and strange but somehow also familiar world, filled with the color palettes of the past. Aldens animations in combination with classical music instantly brought the work of Oskar Fischinger to my mind, a perfect transformation of music into a free visual style, not tied to any rules of storytelling.

This work is even more compelling with the background knowledge that the artists’s audiovisual skills are all self-taught, as he states to never even have set a foot in an art school. The fascination of 70s and early 80s aesthetics combined with an oldschool animation style that seems to refuse modern influences – in a good way of course – forms an atmosphere that has its own special magic style.
Alden claims that his inspiration comes from the overall atmosphere of a lost age and not particular works of particular artists:

“I suppose that the key element that made me the person I am today is the fact that ever since my life begun, I’ve been exposed to great music and movies that clearly weren’t meant to be watched by a very young boy. When I was a kid, my father used to rent movies pretty much every week at the video store, and he was very interested in genre films, so this is how, by the age of 8 I had already seen stuff like Videodrome, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Midnight Express, Phantom of the Paradise, Akira, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Alien, The Dead Zone etc etc… I think that when your brain is exposed to such works at a time when it’s still going through the process of growing, it has to leave deep traces, I think it explains why, to me, moving images are a powerful tool.”

His video intro clip to the British band ‘Plugs’ was the perfect closing at the end of the Desert Dust Cinema film festival in Lobo/Texas 2011, and the sheer beauty of this warm, abstract and colorful animation in combination with the cool music left the audience totally amazed, to say the least.

Surprisingly Alden Volneys work is almost ignored in France, but in my opinion this status won’t last long. Working mostly abstract for years, he just das written and directed a music video with filmed live action (fortunately using his own colorgrading style). and hopefully more will be published in the near future.