Synopsis: A single-shot, choreographed portrait of the Foley process, revealing multiple layers of fabrication and imposition. The circular camera path moves us inside and back out of a Foley stage in Burbank, CA. While portraying sound artists at work, typically invisible support mechanisms of filmmaking are exposed, as are, by extension and quotation, governmental violations of individual privacy.
The scene being foleyed is the final sequence from The Conversation where Gene Hackman’s character Harry Caul tears apart his room searching for a ‘bug’ that he suspects has been covertly planted. The look of Caul’s apartment as he tears it apart mirrors the visual chaos of the Foley stage. This mirroring is also evident in the dual portraits of sonic espionage expert Caul and Foley artist Gregg Barbanell, for whom professionalism is marked by an invisibility of craft. And in the doubling produced by Hackman’s second appearance as a surveillance hack, twenty-four years later in Enemy of the State.
These filmic quotations ground Hacked Circuit, evoking paranoia, and a sense of conviction alongside a lack of certainty about what is visible. The complication of the seen, the known, the heard and the undetectable provides thematic parallels between the stagecraft of Foley and a pervasive climate of government surveillance.
*Foley is the art of reproducing sound effects for cinema in real time. Its purpose is to complement or reproduce sounds created on set at the time of filming (aka field recording). Most films use a combination of foley and field recording. While watching a film clip, the Foley artist produces incidental non-dialogue sounds in sync with the action, e.g. footsteps, keys dropping, fabric rustling, glass breaking, doors closing, etc. The work of a good Foley artist goes undetected by the audience.