Sally Cloninger, Production Still: 2009



The original seed for LIVING IN THE MEDIUM was the unearthing of a few rolls of 16mm film that I shot in 1983, essentially scenes from a home movie featuring members of the Taos art community in the 1920s (including DH and Frieda Lawrence, Georgia O’Keeffe, Mabel Dodge Luhan and Dorothy Brett). I had completely forgotten about the “home movies” and realized there was something still resonant for me in these few scenes.


I began shooting landscapes in the Anza-Borrego Desert (California) and the Valley of Fire (Nevada) in 2009 with an idea to use these iconic images of an American west as a visual motif. However, I struggled to find a structure that could accommodate the many

threads of my work, including my interest in the Taos artists, my desire to open up my own writing and design process, and my growing interest in the nature of consciousness until I discovered JG Bennett’s book, Creative Thinking. I followed his advice with the

structure of LIVING IN THE MEDIUM, letting the images and story unfold as an experiment with “spontaneous thinking” as well as an investigation of the act of filmmaking.


Because one of the chief features of the film was a meditation on time, the layered imagery and even the layered geologic landscapes were used often to visualize or refer to time. "Time is not just a matter of duration but something having reality in itself." However, when I think about my use of layering, I believe that my approach to sound design was even more central. One of the early elements that I selected was a suite of music by composer, Gretchen Langheld. She generously allowed me access to this material, which I edited as freely as my own visual images. I have always maintained

that when possible the sound should lead the picture but given the structure of LIVING IN THE MEDIUM I created the sound and image sections simultaneously, employing lots of ambient processing, snippets of other musical motifs, field recordings, and of course

my voice over.


from an interview with CINEWOMEN, July 2015