Experiencing Interruptions?


"Immersion/Inversion," a film and audio installation, contains five segments ranging from two to six minutes in length, all of them relating to the underwater views of a river--views looking sideways into the water, and views looking at the outside world from below the surface. The project can be shown in two ways: as a projection made onto a ceiling, with the viewers lying down on a carpeted floor beneath, or in the traditional usage of a screen. In our first ceiling projection, in April 2019, we used the visual artist's high quality Moto cell phone projector. The distance between the projector and the ceiling or the above-the-head screen should be 10 feet or higher unless the venue's projector has the capability to make a large image from a shorter distance. The soundtrack includes digitally created music by audio artist Morgan McLeod and his on location recordings of the river with its tributaries; birds; and other ambient sounds.. (Note: in our first performance, the sound composer attended and used his soundtracks with a computer program that randomly chose measures to play, choosing and varying the sequences. We performed for three hours with a silent 22 minute projection on a loop, the sound coming from a speaker system unconnected with the projection. None of the silent five video segments sounded the same twice. For farther away venues we aren't funded to attend, I have put on a soundtrack to the video.) The experience looking up at the projection is like looking at the surface of the river from the bottom with a fish eye's view. When children appear above the river, it is as if you are underneath them. We also provided long, cushioned benches for those not comfortable with getting on the floor. If the venue does not have the requirements of this set-up, the film can also be shown traditionally on the regular screen.

  • Alexandria Searls
  • Morgan McLeod
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Experimental, Music Video, Short, Other
  • Runtime:
    20 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    April 9, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    2,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
    1920 x 1080
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Tom Tom Festival
    Charlottesville, VA
    United States
    April 11, 2019
    North American premiere
    Official Selection
  • VASTLAB Experimental Film Festival
    Los Angeles, California
    United States
    September 20, 2019
    Official Selection
  • Vox Popular Media Arts Festival
    Thunder Bay, Ontario
    September 12, 2019
    Canadian Premiere
    Official Selection
  • Hampden-Sydney College
    Farmville, Virginia
    United States
    October 2, 2019
    Official Selection
  • Festival Transterritorial de Cine Underground
    Buenos Aires
    South American Premiere
    Official Selection
Director Biography - Alexandria Searls

Alexandria Searls is an environmental educator and non-profit Executive Director who teaches photography, film, and other arts of exploration at the Lewis & Clark Exploratory Center in Charlottesville, Virginia. Previously, she worked as an editor for a documentary film company, the James Agee Film Project, and she taught media production at the University of Virginia. In the early 2000s, she made documentary short films about protests and other conflicts in society. "Party and Protest," about the Bush inauguration protests, was screened at the Maryland Film Festival, among others. "Black Spot," about U.S. military stockpiling, showed at the International Film Festival Rotterdam, and "The End of My Enchilada," which portrayed the filmmaker being interviewed by Homeland Security in a Mexican restaurant, was shown at the Big Muddy Film Festival.

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Director Statement

My current filmmaking explores the visual aspects of working in water, bringing the audience to new experiences through the underwater filming and sometimes through alternative methods of projection. Projecting on the ceiling to an audience that is lying down emphasizes relaxation, a common atmosphere of trust, and the sensation of looking upward through the surface of the river, an experience normally not attained except with scuba gear. In one segment children look down at the audience; in another, fish dart--so there is also the feeling of being observed as well as observing.