LAIDA LERTXUNDI: Hi, I’m Laida Lertxundi.

NARRATOR: Lertxundi was born in Spain and lives and works in Los Angeles. One of the films in the program she’s showing this week is called A Lax Riddle Unit.

LAIDA LERTXUNDI: It’s an anagram of the letters in my name and in my last name. Somebody gave it to me as a present. And I liked having the word “lax” in it, both to represent Los Angeles International but also the—laxity or something being not rigid has to do with a lot of the ways that I work during what’s called production, or where I’m shooting, it’s very improvised and there’s a sort of languidity that I want people to feel and then all of the structuring comes from editing.

NARRATOR: One thing you’ll notice when watching Lertxundi’s films is the soundtrack. We might see people or audio devices playing music on-frame, or simply hear the ambient sounds of the landscape.

LAIDA LERTXUNDI: One of the main inspirations to start using music on the frame, something that’s happening live and is synchronous to the image, comes from watching narrative films and thinking about sound-and-image relationships with non-diegetic music, music that comes from outside of what you’re looking at, and the sort of suspension of disbelief that allows you to think that belongs even though it’s an external element.

But it’s also about replacing narrative expectations—when we see figures in a landscape or in a place we immediately try to develop a kind of relationship between them, or imagining a certain structure that the film is going to develop. I’m interested in placing some of those expectations in the viewer but then replacing any idea of plot or a story with sound and image relationships, and sound and image coming into conflict and being separated but equal so they’re both noticed. So it’s sort of—the construction of the soundtrack is most of what’s happening, and it comes to the foreground.

George Kuchar (1942– 2011), still from _Cyclone Alley Ceramics_, 2000. Video, color, sound; 12 min. © The Estate of George Kuchar; courtesy Video Data Bank