fall 04


Fall 04 is a 6 channel online presentation of 3 roughly one hour Digital Video tapes recorded over the Autumn of 2004.

Each channel shows an excerpt covering about 24 hours: around 2 and a half minutes, with some variations.

A small Sony consumer camcorder overlooking the back garden at 48 Maxted Road in Peckham was set to record for one second every 10 minutes. The recording began on 3 NOV 2004, when the leaves began to turn colour, and continued until 8 JAN 2005, when all the deciduous leaves were down.

The camera was in a back workroom used by various people in the household at that time. It contained an iMac which was used for watching media, especially natural history videos. The voice of David Attenborough recurs in the audio, along with sounds of working, machines, bathing, steps on the wooden floors, calls, snatched conversations. The rhythms of the household unfolding in that year - primarily audible - are in juxtaposition with diurnal and seasonal cycles and progressions seen outdoors.

The clips are assembled in chronological order from right to left, then top to bottom. Each one loops independently. The sequence as a whole can be considered in relation to the famous analogy of Michel Serres, where points in time are drawn on a handkerchief, which is then wadded up in somebody's pocket.

The music associated with the piece is of uncertain origin. It is likely a 1976 recording of Quach Thi Ho singing a traditional Vietnamese setting of a poem about Autumn written by the T'ang Chinese poet, Du Fu.

Quach Thi Ho (1909-2001) is the best known exponent of Ca tru, a North Vietnamese vernacular music that sometimes incorporates classical Chinese texts. In 2009, Ca tru singing was added to the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding.

Du Fu (712-770) wrote many poems in response to Autumn. This is either one of the eight 'Autumn Meditations' or one of the 3 'Sighs of Autumn'.



Following some trials and calculations at the beginning of Tape 1, the camera was set to come on every 10 minutes and record 1 second of footage.

The result was 3 tapes of a little over 60 minutes each. The recording period lasted from the time when the leaves began to turn colour, until after all the leaves were down: 3 NOV 2004 to 8 JAN 2005

Once the recording pattern is established, the tapes have a rhythm of 1 second shifts, with occasional anomalies. Each day lasts for 2 minutes and 24 seconds, with minor variation probably due to the recording mechanism.


The 6 channel online version follows the 3 tape sequence, and the rough division of each tape into two parts on digitization. This gives 6 sequences, which are arranged simply in two rows from top left to bottom right.

These sequences are represented by excerpts of roughly 1 full day, which run in non synchronised, independent loops.

In general, this gives clips of about 2 and half minutes.

There are two variations:

// Clip 1/1 (top left) is about 4 minutes 50 seconds in length, reflecting early experiments with the timer settings.

// Clip 2/2 (bottom left), while still representing a roughly 24 hour period, is extended by an anomalous section where the timer settings gave way to continuous video for a time..

Each clip is a different length, so the relations between them vary over time, as well as being affected by the way the browser handles playback.

The length of each clip was set by browser and bandwidth limitations when the piece was assembled in 2008.

Two things may be striking: the length of the Autumn itself; and the length of the nights in London at that time of year.


There is a detailed discussion of Ca tru in the context of contemporary Vietnamese relations to pre revolutionary culture, by Barley Norton: 2005. Singing the Past: Vietnamese Ca Tru, Memory and Mode. Asian Music, 36(2), pp. 27-56. [Article] : Goldsmiths Research Online. Available at: http://research.gold.ac.uk/7737/

See also http://www.unesco.org/culture/ich/index.php?USL=00309&topic=desc

Quach Thi Ho's music is known through 1976 recordings made by Professor Tran Van Khe. It is likely that it is one of these recordings that I came across on a now seemingly vanished internet site in the course of trying to understand the sound world of Du Fu .

As of AUG 2014 I have still not worked out for sure which text the song is using.

Probably it is this poem, as translated literally and provisionally by Nguyen Cong Tru, for what seems to be a school competition:

Yulu maple trees wither injury,
Wushan Gorge gas Xiaosen.
Waves and days between Jiang Yong,
stuffed with ground overcast situation.
Cong Ju two open future tears,
boat and a series hometown heart.
Knife feet warm clothing reminders everywhere,
Baidicheng high anxious twilight anvil.

[The 'anvil' of the last line is likely a stone washing block, where clothes are beaten with a wooden mallet (Greg Whincup, Heart of Chinese Poetry, Doubleday, 1987, p 82. 'Cong Ju' are Pineapple daisies (Chrysanthemums)]

For detailed commentary, see bottom.


Tape 1

DV tape. 62 min 32 sec = 3752 seconds.

Tape 1 starts on 3-11-2004 and finishes on 21-11-2004 = 18 days

Digitized on LaCie Big Disk as 1833 clips of varying length, average 2 seconds.

Presumably for reasons to do with the encoding and digitization process, each 2 second movie contains two consecutive 1 second shots.

When these are re assembled in order, the distinctive 1 second rhythm of the DV tape is restored.

The early part of the tape has experiments with settings, eg recording one second of footage every 5 minutes. This produces days lasting around 5 minutes. This was producing too much tape for the purposes of the project, and the final setting of 1 second every ten minutes was set up and kept for all subsequent recordings.

Tape 2

DV tape. 62 min 27 sec.

The tape starts on 21-11-2004 and ends on 14-12-2004

It covers 24 days.

Digitized material in 2 parts:

Tape 2 Part One contains 1172 clips, of which all but the first contain 2 subclips. Clip length is about 2 seconds.

Tape 2 Part Two contains a further 825 clips.

Total clips on tape 2 = 1997

(A typical day contains 72 clips = 144 seconds = 2 min 24 seconds. Consistent with taking 1 shot for 1 second every 10 minutes.)

Tape 3

DV tape. 62 min 33 sec

Runs from 14-12-2004 to 8-1-2005

Daybreak on 15 DEC is at around 8.37; nightfall is around 17.17. Light levels during the day are low. The darkness lasts through the evening and night until around 08.47: about 15 and a half hours.

There is an anomalous zoomed-in section in the first day's footage, corrected at some point during the day.

Digitized in two parts:

Tape 3 part 1 consists of 909 clips, each of around 2 seconds duration

Tape 3 part 2 consists of a further 947 clips

Total = 1856

Each clip is again composed of 2 shots, each lasting about a second.

Lyrics : Autumn Meditation [Evoked Thoughts (Whincup), Inspiration, Sighs]: Notes on translation

Many translations of this Du Fu poem of c. 766 have been proposed; partly because it seems to be or have been a set text in school examinations in Vietnam. Google translate adds a further layer of uncertainty. The student translators at http://www.thivien.net/viewpoem.php?UID=d-FDjEupVCgpsc1eaacNvg&Page=1 themselves discuss the difficulties; for instance, hoanggiapton comments:

Jade Forest Highway conditioned commercial studio,
Translation: bead hook (dew) White Room desolate forest.
Nguyen Cong Tru translation: Forest sporadic sa hook style beads. Da Hai Services: Clear turquoise shattered maple leaf tree. Thich Quang Translation dreary fog forest brewed style etc ..
But if punctuation is: Highway Ngoc, conditioned studio commercial forestry,
it means: Clear (hook) white birch forest became desolate.
And Ngo Tat To translate: Forest sicken style, particles fly hook. mailang Services: Hiu forest sneezing style, particles fly hook, Le Van Phong Services: Clear white, color becomes dull style spring forest, etc ..
Indeed ambiguity in Tang poetry allows the reader a different sensation and I the same or even think properly.
Moreover, also in this post 2 sentences:
flakiness ratio dearest bipolar implementation,
systems trying to park her mind Sunday.

Translation are:
Pineapple daisies two (times) hatching, (drops) days prior to charter
a boat alone (once) forced (back), (broken) heart homeland.
letters and meaning is clear, but the relation "chrysanthemum bloom two times "," tears the day before "sentence and" boat tied "," heart home "to understand how the question here?
If you understand:
Pineapple daisies bloom, from the two times he has dropped tears.
loosen the old country, forced forever to ship deserted.
shows the translators:
Nguyen Cong Tru:
Pineapple Daisy flush more tears old,
I love the boat tied.
Le Nguyen Luu:
Sometimes constellation chrysanthemum bloom flush tears
trying to remember a boat anchor incense
etc ..
But also understand other translators and other services, such as Ngo Tat:
Le pity, fear daisies bloom clusters considered
native heart, hope to force the boat full of
Nguyen Cong Tru There is a different translation:
Pineapple daisies bloom, two lines of the old charter
boat force, a love the
ingenious observation sentences verbatim 2 of Du Fu, and retain the ambiguity in the original.
A detailed again:他日泪: eager update rate: tears and tears the day before the exile place

(Van Phong Le-rate customer service) Capital kanji My only some of the primary, trying to reference multiple lookup, but self- known also very flawed, desperate not to present Burners improve their learning, the desire to be just that much more rewarding. Looking forward to the contest ownership tolerated.

Vanachi comments:

Two questions must be translated Comment:
Pineapple daisies bloom twice a day before the tears,
her boat was most pleased least tied back home. sentence, the author chrysanthemum petals look like weeping. Of course this is also the author brings the tears in his lap assigned to the chrysanthemum. "Landings" twice, referring to the author spent two seasons at the remote receiver (receiver ago in Van An, Quy Chau in this collection). question, "best" is best understood most certain, sooner or later not as a change, rather than once. "Fixed" means a home in Chengdu.

hoanggiapton acknowledges:

First of all thank vanachi had interpreted the sentence 5.6. It's very rewarding, giving me the ability to reach the correct lyrics.
During The Road contest in 1940 published by the New People. Question 5 has been interpreted as Ngo Tat: "Suddenly the thought of his situation, the author remembered Land arrivals were floating two years, the pineapple daisies, make twice bloom, later home to the daisy's look,'m sorry sight to wander tears that drip ". The two words "forgive date" as I've mentioned previously can be understood as "the old rules, other rules", it can be understood as "living charter, charter tha". Analysis as above, Ngo Tat "valid excuse" is the first case. But his translation was not so. For higher education or to the Tang poet grapes that approach inevitably embarrassing, and understand different (in some articles). I think the ambiguity in verse Street is a reality. Understanding differences Road is a poem that does thuc.Va is also a special feature makes poetry more sugar or, more attractive. Of course exact, asymptotic to a standard is needed. But diversity means accepting, understanding different verse Street (in the case can not be avoided) is also very good because it also reflects, expresses, sympathetic mood of lovers (translated or read) all poetry.
reminder again, which my poor Sinology, just because they read like poetry and table sugar only. The reader can see the bullshit they offer an "amnesty" for the lower only because the love of poetry and spoken street-getter!

Needless to say, this labor tends to extend rather than restrict 'the ambiguity in verse Street'. Witness hoanggiapton's own proposed version:

Forest sicken style, particles fly hook,
Yu Hiu Overhead Non evaporation, unfortunately.
rippling river, churning sky,
blurred frontier tops, draped in clouds the land.
Charter unhappy: afraid considered polar cap expansion,
native heart: the desire to force full boat.
urged ye who pull cold feet,
fabric sun dam busy day baseball language.

together with that of Dong_Phong:

Clear white sa gloomy forest style,
Wushan, when Jiang Yu Armor glaze.
On parallel roll back the deep sky,
the earth also workstation remote frontier.
Pineapple Daisy occasional guest ratio flush,
forcing the boat was a childhood home.
Around Refrigerator collects extra shirt,
White Wine to run busy wrong ball.

finally, a translation by tducchau:

Ragged forest dew trellised
Giap Vu Vu Son gas darkening
sky real live human hearts spine
frontier extruder ground blind rise
buildings Hamlet bear two tears old
boat into a deep love affair
ended the season cold knife Ruler sewing
Afternoon Baseball crashing into Ron White.

(Source: Truong Nam Huong Duong Thi SERVICES INCIDENTAL, Youth Publishing House, 2007)

The full discussion is available [6 AUG 2014] at http://www.thivien.net/viewpoem.php?UID=d-FDjEupVCgpsc1eaacNvg&Page=1