Euphoric sounds by Peter Strickland
For repeated rituals of an online performer have a transfixing effect on her viewers, in this short exploration of sensual audio visual stimulation. What starts as an exploration of tactility, addiction and control soon descends into a nightmarish dance performance where no rules apply.
In his latest release, Cold Meridian is an Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) produced in black and white by Peter Stickland, commissioned by the London Short Film Festival in 2019 when they were organizing an ASMR event.
Strickland wanted to share his childhood experience with sounds to the audience, how several sounds can send chills down your spire with menacingly hypnotizing sensations. The British director gave Cold Meridian a lucid, mysterious and alluring experience for the audience. Starting the 7-minute short film with a dance room filled with mirror in Budapest to a sudden appearance of a woman getting her hair washed. The sound of the soap and water enhanced the hearing senses, making it impossible to stray your eyes away from the woman as she stares back at you. However, this scene did not make the situation erotic or unsettling, instead it made the partic- ular moment expressive, beguiling and striking.
Following the ambiguous story line, the scene transport to a woman and a man performing a contemporary dance in nude at the dance room. The provocation of its setting and features caught the viewers attention, as it is a natural response, as they sway and elevate their bodies, the history between these two characters became a question mark. Are they in anger or lust? Are they challenging or saving one another? A variety of emotions kept changing between seconds, their mouth gaping and eyes shut with the light accentuating their tones muscles and protruding bone structure. Shot in monochromatic black and white with a grainy texture, this effect reinforces the im- agery to the mind, enlightening the sense of touch through a digital screen.
Cold Meridian can be streamed at MUBI. Other applaudable films by Strickland include In Fabric and The Duke of Burgundy.