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The Cabinet of Living Cinema

Dazed talks to Rob Rescores about his touring film project, Future Shorts and experimenting with the relationship between the audience and performers

The Becks Vier Music in Art tour is making it’s way through the UK by way of 580 Ltd’s venues and with it is the Cabinet of Living Cinema an experimental project that marries film, music and performance. Having worked with Future Shorts and the Paper Cinema the collective take inspiration from the rare and avant-garde films they choose and compose a score, which is performed live as the film plays. Experimenting with the relationship between the audience and performance they play with that relationship and also give us the chance to see rare work that is hard to find. Dazed grabbed some time with Rob Rescores of The Cabinet of Living Cinema to find out more about their collective and what they do together.

Dazed Digital: Where did the idea for the Cabinet of Living Cinema come from?
Rob Rescores: About five years ago myself and the co-founder, Kieron Maguire, played with a band called Perico which were featured on a Future Shorts tour.  We played in collaboration with The Paper Cinema which is a paper puppetry show projected live onto the big screen. Future Shorts asked if any of us would like to re-score the music live for a couple of shorts they had in mind.  It was a great and different experience for us and certainly set the scene for what we do now.  When myself and Kieron moved to London two years ago we began concentrating on the project fully and it accelerated from there.
DD: How do you choose the films you show?
Rob Rescores: We spend a lot of time researching and going through potential films. There are suggestions by Future Shorts and film festival programmers and we are meeting more and more new film-makers that submit work. We've got fairly good at finding suitable films we can use especially as we usually sit watching with a few instruments to hand.  A lot of the music myself and Kieron come up with is written there and then on the spot in the first viewing of a new film, in fact it's true to say that sometimes the films choose us when we both go for instruments at the same time.
DD: It looks like being quite an interactive experience. What do you think of the big increase in interactive theatre and performance art?
Rob Rescores: People are always looking for something new in entertainment. Interaction and being a part of the show could be said is the ultimate experience for the audience. It's great when we give out percussion to volunteers to hit or shake, they really get into it and using a semi-improvised approach to what we do lends itself to the energy of the audience and the interactive experience, we never really do the same thing twice.
We also have a tendency to ignore the stage sometimes, unroll a carpet on floor level where the audience are and set up a screen and projector away from the stage. This creates a kind of installation style lounge where we sit with instruments, sound effect objects and loop pedals set out all over the place. With the audience around us as opposed to seperated by the stage, it's more comfortable, intimate and easier for people to see what we're doing.  Imagine watching a film at home with the musicians in there with you playing live.I guess this is the 3D version of the film score.
DD: How do the performances work with the films in practise, what can we expect as an audience?
Rob Rescoures: One thing we always try to do is sonically emulate the emotion and energy the films convey visually. 'Battaille' by Nicolas Provost for example, which is a fantastic piece of mirror split editing of an old Kurosawa Samurai film, is very fast and furious and leaves us very sweaty! Expect beautifully directed films, amazing animation, lots of instrument swapping and bubble-wrap, believe it or not its perfect for making the sound of the sea! 
DD: What is it like working with Future Shorts?
Rob Rescores: Future Shorts are an inspiration to us, they're a goldmine of source material and truly know their stuff regarding what's what in the film world.  We certainly wouldn't be doing what we are doing without their support both past and present.

DD: You work with a lot of people, how did you find them all and how does it fit together?
Rob Rescores: It’s a very broad circle that we move in and we tend to meet interesting new performers and artists all the time. As we use unusual instruments and live sound effects there's generally interest from musicians who play interesting instruments and the visual side of things draws in similarly related artists, so a lot of contact swapping is done at gigs. In terms of directing live performances we may only choose three or four musicians to play with at a time, it's whatever is suitable for whichever films we choose to show.  Having such a fantastic group of talented artists at hand means we can make each experience different and interesting.
DD: Are you looking to go bigger with The Cabinet of Living Cinema, what's next?
Rob Rescores: We have music and film festivals, a full length feature in August and later in the year we are looking to curate performances that focus on new up and coming film-makers.  We always include new director's films alongside established directors in rescore performances but to focus solely on new directors provides a great platform for emerging talent and closer-to-home inspiration to aspiring film-makers. We're also looking to do more studio based work too, offering the services of ourselves and our entourage for recording purposes, it's great fun and we certainly have the musicians!

Village Underground, London: Friday 18 June, Start the Bus, Bristol: 17 - 20 June, 60 Million Postcards, Bournemouth, 1 – 4 July, The Kraken Wakes, Portsmouth: 15 – 18 July