With Newsprint, Sherwin uses the physical act of pasting together film and newspaper in order to transform the static print product into a time-based sound film format. The original dimensions of the newspaper cuttings are maintained and, in being projected, are blown up immensely. Thus the film provides the viewer with a microscopic view of fragmented traces left on the printing plate. Above all, the characteristic dot screen patterns of newspaper images printed offset become visible. The projected scraps of writing cross the screen so quickly that it is scarcely possible to discern any meaning from them. Instead, we hear how the photoelectric cell “reads out” the letters and dot screen images of the printed newspaper strips, constituting, in a metaphorical sense, a transferal.
Guy Sherwin - Optical Sound Films
One of Sherwin's first 16mm films, made without a camera as an experiment in how to visualize rhythm. It equates four simple shapes with four simple sounds, made by punching shapes into black film and scratching into the film's optical sound track.
The film uses a bar structure similar to a music score. Each bar lasts one second (24 frames of film) and is divided into 2, 3, 4 or 6 aural and visual beats per second (bps).
A found-footage film made entirely from Academy leader, which is normally used to cue the start of films. The film was hand-printed on a home-made contact printer. It was rolled back and re-printed several times over, to create a complex layering of both image and sound. The film explores displacements of a positive and negative copy of the same loop. Since the printer light also covers the sound-track area, both picture and sound undergo identical transformations.
Shot with a camera clamped to the lowered window of a train traveling from Birmingham to London. Filmed in time-lapse, on projection the two hour journey is abbreviated to two minutes. The long exposure time of each frame transforms the lights in the landscape into horizontal streaks (neon lights appear as dotted lines due to their flicker). These individual frames were extended by running the film through the contact printer several times to make a multiple‐superimposition print, each time slipping the film along by one frame.

'Optical Sound' was a late addition to the publication of the Optical Sound Films: 1971-2007 book/dvd. The film was the exception to the other films, all of which used the technique of converting image sequences directly into graphic optical sounds by means of the optical sound reader of the 16mm film projector. For this film the above process is reversed by converting sounds into images.'

'I wanted to hear what railings sound like - this time not by running a stick along them - but by filming them from various angles and perspectives, and then listening to them pass over the projector's sound-reproducing head. Having access to the London Film-Makers' Co-op printer meant that I could control the film as it ran through the printer, sometimes freezing the railings - I was curious what sound a still image would make.' GS

The microphone is attached to a stick protruding from the camera, and kept just out of sight. This image-and-sound-gathering device is used to "play" the open strings of a piano. The camera brushes across them, leaving individual strings quivering in response.


Newsprint, 1972, 4', 16mm, sound
Sound Shapes, 1972, 3', 16mm, sound
At the Academy, 1974, 5', 16mm, sound
Night Train, 1979, 2', 16mm, sound
Optical Sound, 2007, 16mm, 1', sound
Railings #2, 1977, 8', 16mm, sound
Notes, 1979, 2', Super 8 on 35mm