7.2.17: Polishing; last minute work

I worked from home today – all my files are there and it takes so long to travel into the city for me, I figured that as we’re on a deadline I might as well not waste two hours of travel time and spend that time to work on fixing our primary animation, creating our third test sequence, and contributing to the final presentation. It wasn’t particularly necessary for me to work at uni rather than home, anyway, especially as Helen and I were responsible for animating and compiling the bulk of the primary and test animations. I had a few technical difficulties today – issues with Adobe/mac OS X updates (the level 7 computer I’d worked on on Sunday night was the latest 2017 version but at home mine was still 2015 and updating would take several hours so Helen had to save back a version of my file and send it to me), graphics card issues (ghost images on AE showing up), and so forth.

It took a while to overcome those but eventually we did and I fixed up the elements that Chris had suggested as best I could. I found fixing the extension of the ink, the force of ink pushing through really difficult. Lou had given me some MotionBuilder particle exports on my HDD but they were a selection of ones she’d already done and only a couple of new ones that just had a change of camera. I really needed more MotionBuilder particles with a quicker tail fade-out and different shapes (i.e. more iterations and tests using different joints from Dean’s mocap data – especially something more horizontal) but Lou just sent me the files to work on myself instead of adjusting them and exporting herself. Instead I pursued with what I had as I didn’t have time to work on that as well as the third test sequence (the second being Helen’s). A good challenge though to grapple with!

Under each still of the final animation I have included an overview of intention and visual background according to each.

screen-shot-2017-02-07-at-11-35-45-pm
An exploration of how a clear direction/state of mind/river can evolve into murkiness. Point of connection between the saltwater and freshwater.
screen-shot-2017-02-07-at-11-36-13-pm
Segmented portions conveying the tumultuous dynamics between freshwater and saltwater, rational and emotional mind. Each element is intrusive in the other’s space, there is a give and take, flow and recede of each estuary element.
screen-shot-2017-02-07-at-11-36-31-pm
Blocks of simple colours, showing the balance that can be achieved between the emotional and rational mind. They still exist together, but in a calmer state. Also is a reference to how saltwater and freshwater do not mix, but remain adjacent.

 

Overview (verbal component for our Wednesday presentations):

Our final animated sequence explores the tumultuous dynamics between the merging of freshwater and saltwater within an estuary, similarly to how the emotional and rational mind act as forces that fluctuate in strength, yet always remaining united. The use of black and white was introduced as a means of instantly symbolising two contrasting elements and transporting the individual to an illusory setting. We explored the notion of eruptions, force, and intrusion within a space by amplifying speed, thundering and dropping sound, and graphic images throughout this cinematic piece. We conducted a number of experiments with ink, oil, and water to visually represent contrast within a contained environment, just as salt and freshwater is contained in an estuary. These unpredictable liquids aptly act as a visual representation for how emotions and rational thinking occurs in the mind. Always varying in pattern and reaction to the opposing element, the force of the ink emulates how emotions drive rational thinking and act in tandem with it. Heightened actions based on purely emotional thinking result in tempestuous landscapes, seen in our piece by the gradual crescendo of particles and ink, filling the entire panoramic screen and overwhelming the viewer with so much to look at. They are encourage to follow the action, to move with the visual unrest before the dust settles and blocks of simply colour convey the balance that can be achieved between the two converging forces of emotion and rational thinking, and similarly the freshwater and saltwater.

Jack didn’t end up working on the sound but did some research into user experience, which Lou put into the presentation. Helen had written the 500 word rationale that Lou asked her to do, Lou edited that, and then I edited Lou’s (including more specific elements of the visual language, which was my focus in creating the animation).

Our final:

“The mythical freshwater river Alpha, which coursed through the saltwater sea and emerged wholly untainted on the other shore.”
            - (Caillois, 2003).

An Estuary is a fluid environment within which many diverse forces exist freely and in union, filled with saltwater and freshwater that is divided in the same space. Our concept looks at the interaction between the emotional and rational mind and how that correlates to the nature of salt and freshwater within an estuary. Subdermal Currents has responded to the National Maritime Museum’s brief on river ecology with a graphic representation of the collision, eruption and convergence of two forces, employing animation and manipulated footage to deliver a highly engaging sensory experience for a wide audience to enjoy. The museum attracts a variety of visitors and we have designed our animation to be inclusive and enjoyable for all, with a more specific focus on the individual and personal reflection. With an experimental focus on the spontaneous and free form, this work provides respite from educational content at the centre of the exhibition and individuals leave feeling replenished.

Subdermal Currents has great respect for the important role the National Maritime Museum plays as a treasure chest of oceanic stories and history. Thus, we have explored the idea of antiquity in our work, framed by an examination of the opposing views of Homer and Plato. The characters in Homer’s poetry are emotional and prone to intense mood shifts, yet Plato’s dialectic text argues that they are child-like in letting emotion govern logic. Utilising motion capture data of Dean Walsh’s choreography on aquatic modalities, we have identified emotion with the flowing delicacy of the siphonophores and rationale with the rigid, structured movements of the arthropods. This association is complemented by Caillois’s (2003) allegory which likens freshwater to “lyricism” and saltwater to “science”. Furthermore, research into schismogenesis, the harmony or division between two opposing forces (Bateson, 1972), has led us to also consider the conflict between ‘territory’ and ‘intruder’ and what happens when one of these states is predominant and when they are balanced.

The aim of this work is to provide a meditative experience by separating the individual and provoking an internal reflection, ultimately finding balance between the emotional and rational mind. Our final animated sequence explores the tumultuous dynamics between the merging of freshwater and saltwater within an estuary, similarly to how the emotional and rational mind act as forces that fluctuate in strength, yet always remaining united. The use of black and white was introduced as a means of instantly symbolising two contrasting elements and transporting the individual to an illusory setting. We explored the notion of eruptions, force, and intrusion within a space by amplifying speed, thundering and dropping sound, and graphic images throughout this cinematic piece. We conducted a number of experiments with ink, oil, and water to visually represent contrast within a contained environment, just as salt and freshwater is contained in an estuary. These unpredictable liquids aptly act as a visual representation for how emotions and rational thinking occurs in the mind. Always varying in pattern and reaction to the opposing element, the force of the ink emulates how emotions drive rational thinking and act in tandem with it. Heightened actions based on purely emotional thinking result in tempestuous landscapes, seen in our piece by the gradual crescendo of particles and ink, filling the entire panoramic screen and overwhelming the viewer with so much to look at. They are encourage to follow the action, to move with the visual unrest before the dust settles and blocks of simply colour convey the balance that can be achieved between the two converging forces of emotion and rational thinking, and similarly the freshwater and saltwater.

 

That night I also created the third test sequence as supporting material. I was able to include a lot of the assets that weren’t in the primary piece – a plate of paint and ink that Helen and I had filmed, the black “blob” Lou had made a while ago, more ink drops in water.

Screen Shot 2017-02-11 at 2.28.53 pm.png
(Nour, G. 2017)

In the far left portion I layered the different ink films as a testing of Miyanaga Akira’s film traits that I had been so influenced by. The middle is Lou’s black flaky particles. Adjacent to that is the flowing ink Helen and I had filmed, and on the very right is footage from some ink drops in oil that I’d filmed when reshooting the out-of-focus oil jar tests.

scn_0024
(Nour, G. 2017)

 


References:
Caillois, R. 2003, Frank, C., The Edge of Surrealism: A Roger Caillois’s
Reader, Duke University Press, accessed January 29 2017.
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