Aryan Kaganof’s film Velvet is based on a cut-up prose sequence called April in the Moon-Sun by poet Gary Cummiskey. Composed in 2002 and originally published on the online literary journal, donga, April in the Moon-Sun is characterised by astonishing surreal images that shift between London and Johannesburg. Throughout its hallucinatory pages lurks the whore-spirit, Dirty Girl.
When donga went offline in 2006, Cummiskey published April in the Moon-Sun through his Dye Hard Press. The print run was limited to 100 copies, one of which was sent somewhat belatedly to Kaganof.
Towards the end of 2007 Kaganof announced his intention to make a short text film which would be his interpretation of the work. In January this year, Velvet was born. Lasting 11 minutes and 32 seconds, containing electronic music by US experimental duo Matmos and culminating in what Kaganof describes as “physical poetry” by US porn star Taylor Rain, the film begins in total darkness with background sounds reminiscent of John Cage’s work, and which hint at what is to come.
From darkness – nothingness – is born the word, as the text of April in the Moon-Sun starts to appear on screen. The music of Matmos, a track titled Burroughs, reflects the cut-up nature of the work. The spirit of Dirty Girl is invoked as she starts to appear in the narrator’s brain.
From the word is born the image – the physical manifestation of Dirty Girl, played by Taylor Rain, who engages in some naughty, dirty exploration. Dirty Girl’s sudden appearance after about six minutes of text comes as a shock to our eyes just as her activities may come as a shock to our bourgeois sensibilities