Here is the film programme that I presented at the Austrian Culture Forum on 30 January 2014. The films were selected from the previous Ars Electronica Animation Festival programme, and explore our relationship with natural forms and the natural world using the possibilities of digital technology to manipulate, deconstruct and abstract familiar organisms and environments.
Forms, Quayola (IT), Memo Akten (TR), 2’20”
The programme begins with the Grand Prize winning piece Forms, made by artists Quayola and Memo Akten, who also happen to be directors at inspiring London based production studio, Nexus Interactive Arts. Forms is a generative artwork that deconstructs the motion of athletes to produce abstract sculptural forms.
Nostalgia for Nature, Hugo Arcier/Le Cube (FR), 8,58”
Nostalgia for nature combines 3D computer graphics, live action footage and still images to delve into the natural world, at times mimicking natural beings or abstracting them into alternative digital forms.
King and Lionheart, We Were Monkeys (CA), 4’45”
I showed a music video by directors We Were Monkeys for Icelandic band Of Monsters and Men last year – and it’s great to see that the artistic collaboration continues, as this is yet another standout video with incredible backgrounds made through a combination of live action, green screen, models, photography, and CG graphics to produce this epic fantasy film.
Like Rabbits (Sticky Ends, chapter 2), Osman Cerfon (FR), 8’05”
Some light relief – Like Rabbits is a twisted film made by an animator with a wicked sense of humour that sees a fish-headed man spread his ‘bubbles of doom’ wherever he goes, which in this film mostly revolves around a rabbit obsessed young woman.
Snail Trail, Philipp Artus (DE), 3’00”
Snail Trail examines exponential acceleration through a series of colourful line drawings that show a snail like creature evolving exponentially over time. I particularly like the visible trace of the previous cycles in the background of each frame that suggests this process is a continuous cycle – Artus projected the animation onto phosphorescent material to achieve this.
Between Regularity and Irregularity, Masahiro Tsutani (JP), 7’50” (2’30” extract)
Masahiro Tsutani is a musician who experiments with ‘convulsive’ synchronized sound and image – Between Regularity and Irregularity is one such work which presents a chaotic world view through rapid edits and an intense soundtrack, suggesting how the brain processes the world around it. Tsutani likes to incorporate the colours of nature in his image making, which you can appreciate if you stare at the flickering images long enough.
Made by Humans (Series), Matt Pyke (UK), 1’35”
This video documents the generative artwork made by Matt Pyke, founder of Universal Everything. It shows the work in installation at Hyundai, who commissioned the work for one of their campuses, and gives a glimpse of the organic forms that have been motion captured and then abstracted by computer generated software to highlight the beauty of human motion.
Energy Flow, Marcus Wendt and Vera-Maria Glahn (UK), 9 ‘22”
Energy Flow by artistic duo FIELD, represents the invisible forces that shape our world, and what they see as the mathematical chaos all around us. Incorporating scientific visualisations with scenes of the natural world, the piece is produced in real time so that no two viewings of the work are the same. This is to allow the viewer to interpret that piece and to decide what the connections are. As such this video documentation of the work is just one version of the piece.
Infime, Dan Charbit (FR), 2’23”
Infime is a journey through an unexpected landscape in super high definition 3D. The artist has chosen to produce these intricate sculptural landscapes to push the technology to its limits, revealing the truth behind the microcosm at the very end.
Scrape, Robert Seidel (DE), 4’25”
Robert Seidel produced an abstract generative animation for Seoul Square. In Scrape, Seidel made a series of sculptural organisms inspired by deep sea creatures that pulsate and evolve, trying to attract the bustling passers by with their bioluminescence.
The Animation Tag Attack, The Animation Tag Attack Team (DK/DE), 9’58”
Animation tag attack is an exquisite corpse style project where each participant adds to the film taking on board character, symbols and actions of the film before. The film was made as an experiment, a creative challenge posed by one animator to his peers, to see what would happen when animators are able to develop a story organically. With each artist and their animation style the characters morph, each new chapter making the world of the film anew.
Lightning Drawing Rabbit, Cassandra C Jones (US), 1’00”
Lightning Drawing Rabbit is a simple and effective experiment. Jones has taken found images of lightning from the internet and assembled them with her own photographs of lightning to produce the outline of a rabbit that appears to be moving across the pictures as the pictures are manipulated with stop motion animation.
Playgrounds Fest Main Titles, Gabor Ekes, MRK (Markos Kay) and Jordi Pagès (UK), 2’51”
The Playground Digital Arts Festival titles take the viewer on a journey around a fantastical world of bizarre plants and creatures. There’s great movement produced giving the feeling that these 3D objects are being buffeted around by invisible winds on land and at sea.
The Hungry Corpse, Gergely Wootsch (UK), 9’49”
The Hungry Corpse was made by artist Gergely Wootsch and is based on a story by writer James Pout. The film has a lovely monochrome design that evokes the urban setting of Trafalgar Square, with an ancient corpse caught up in contemporary living trying to capture the site that he once knew.
Liars – Brats, Ian Cheng (US), 3’02”
And finally, the music video for the Liars’ Brats, made by US artist Ian Cheng who takes 3D computer animation and makes outrageous worlds that refuse to present the photorealism that many of the other artists strive to achieve. In this video the familiar scenario of the hunter pursuing the rabbit that is abstracted and made strange with motion captured choreographed movements in a stark, unnatural environment.