Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Animations completed

Follow this link to see my final works that I completed last week for this years project. I created a series of steampunk animations using After Effects.
Hope you enjoy.
A Curious Tale of How the Tide was Turned

And just in case anyones interested in the ideas behind the work....

A curious tale of how the tide was turned (2009)

This body of work is exploring the idea that virtual reality runs parallel to what we refer to as our actual reality and that it always has. I have used photographs to represent the actual and graphical imagery to represent the virtual. By combining each of these into these short animations I am saying that the two of these aspects of our lives can work together and don’t need to be considered separate entities.

By using imagery of past times, in particular the Victorian era and early 20th Century, I am saying that the virtual world isn’t just a recent invention of our modern computer age. Which brings up the question of what is virtual? Using the term as it is applied to computer activities it refers to things that are not real. A virtual world such as second life has no actual existence. Virtual sex is not real sex…or is it? Where is the line drawn between the virtual and the real? If real emotions are felt then how is it not real? Is a conversation with a friend in a chatroom real or virtual? Is the same conversation on the telephone real? We know the conversation is not tangible so does that make it virtual? What about your friend’s thoughts and feelings written in a letter. Perhaps a letter written in Victorian times can also be considered a virtual activity. I am saying with this work that anything that exists in the mind, be it a letter, a daydream or a memory can all be considered virtual. Therefore our actual lives and virtual lives can and do run in parallel to each other.

Some other themes have slipped into the work along the way that I feel are also important. In particular the theme of breaking away from the machinery of the system or the patriarchal hierarchy. The reference to Victorian times is also an indicator here because this was a very important time of fighting for women’s rights.

I have used the Steampunk aesthetic throughout this series of works. This uses a nostalgic look at Victorian times with a limited palette of browns, golds and brass colours. Using the nostalgic says for me that people love to create a romantic view of life. Steampunk also has a machinery/industrial look to it that supports my theme of breaking away from the machine.

My most technically proficient work regarding the image creation is ‘I’d Rather Be Flying’. Creating the actual image tested quite a number of my photoshopping skills to create a believable image, one that had depth and an imagined world outside the windows. On the animation side I had several challenges but I think the technical skills I’m most pleased with are in Checkmate. The mask around the video works well I feel, giving it the impression that it is an object rolling out onto the floor. Making the crown disappear without any disruption to the floor I was pleased with too.

Several artists have influence this work, in particular the design team Bubbly Numbers and Monty Python for their humorous animations. The new media artist Jeremy Blake inspired me with his combining of video footage with photographs and drawings. I also used the style of silent movies for bringing the pieces together to run as a narrative.

My research around rhizome theory written by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari and published in their book A Thousand Plateaus (1980) certainly helped me to think in different ways, in particular in relation to using new media for my work. I have seen this way of working as rhizomatic. Lev Manovich’s paper Understanding Hybrid Media (2007) has also inspired me to work more in this style and to bring in further elements into my animations. My next project will involve more variety of media such as video footage; either found or created and incorporate some of my own artwork. I also will be exploring After Effects further to find out some of the possibilities of this program.

Deleuze, G. and Guattari, F. (1980). A Thousand Plateaus. Continuim. London.

Manovich, L. (2007) Understanding Hybrid Media. Retrieved September 2009 from www.manovich.net

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