THE TUBA THIEVES: INTERLUDES - THE SEA, THE STARS, A LANDSCAPE (excerpt)


Alison O’Daniel’s ongoing project The Tuba Thieves was inspired by an unlikely crime: a spate of tuba thefts from a number of high school marching bands in Los Angeles. The slowly unfolding feature-length film, which she has been shooting since 2013, is a portrait of music and silence built around events both historic and mundane. O’Daniel, whose binaural hearing loss requires her to wear hearing aids and lip read, saw the removal of this tonally rich instrument from the band as analogous to her daily experience of missing parts of conversations and having to fill in the gaps.

The production of The Tuba Thieves reversed the usual process of filmmaking by starting with finished pieces of music and writing scenes based on the compositions commissioned from deaf sound artist Christine Sun Kim, hearing painter and musician Steve Roden, and the late hearing composer Ethan Frederick Greene. O’Daniel makes us cognizant of the many nuances of sound and how it interfaces with our other senses, while also revealing the often hidden politics inscribed within a culture that takes hearing for granted and elevates the visual over the aural.

—Anne Ellegood

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