2. Meeting Dean Walsh

 

The morning of day 2 took us back into the data arena to observe and participate in the choreography of Dean Walsh. This session took my understanding of this course to a while different level, and I think it properly hit me what I was actually doing (in a good way).

The participatory element of the session was, for want of a better word challenging in so far that Dean was asking us to get out of our comfort zone (and into his) and take on the choreography. I enjoyed it and I’m better for it as I believe I have a tiny comprehension of that world.

My immediate reactions from Dean Walsh are described in the diary sketches below.

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I attempted to think about the subsets brought forward by Chris, territory and intruder and associate some kind of physicality from the morning in the data arena to them. It was challenging but some of the thoughts that hit me were:

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  • Male and female: intrusion of space, the limits there of. When is company intrusion? Why are two males in the territory of a female different to two female in the territory of a male? Can territories even be blanketed across gender?
  • Find the impetus of Goldsworthy in this area.
  • Is this a representation of the primitive human state? Possibly by undertaking this exercise, we could be tapping into a thread of a behaviour and mind from a different eon. This thought connects well with Deans comprehension of the connection to animals. He used the example of dancing in Australian Aboriginal rites. This is something to think about further.
  • Is this a representation of the womb?
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8. Presentation of Final Animation & Assets

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(above) Becoming more accustomed to setting up and thinking about audience experience in the data arena.

 

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Overall this course has been an intense and ultimately reward experience. Before coming into the course I didn’t know what to expect and it took me upwards of five days to fully grasp the content and the expectations. I’m glad I had this experience and I’ve really enjoyed working with my peers. Firstly Chris and Holger have been fully invested the entire time and both were very approachable when I, and the group need to voice concerns or ideas. I am grateful for their dedication. I had a great time working with the Subdermal Currents. Gisele in particular is a talented animator and worked very well as She had some added responsibility. Louise is a resolute student and helped me work through the content when I was underwater. Helen put everything into this project, she presented well and worked outside of Her 2d comfort zone.

 

 

6. Sound & Image

From the beginning of the subject I was interested in adding audio to the immersive animation. I have worked in music production before and I felt I could bring forward some appropriate tracks to fit the characteristics of the animation. Below is a video showing Kryptos (Ozolins, 2011) that was an installation I witnessed at the Museum of Old and New Art, in Hobart. I found this installation amazing and it was in my mind for the asset building stage of this subject. I wanted to draw from the immersive elements of this installation.

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Above are my notes and comprehension of how the audio tracks would fit the animation assets. It was a challenging task to sync up the visual and audio elements of the animation but I feel I provided a suitable audio response.

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Above are screenshots of the audio tracking I created on Audacity. I used totally open source and freely available sound clips to construct the soundtrack. At times it seemed too difficult and I felt I should have used the tracks provided by Chris, but in retrospect I am happy with the path I chose to take.

 

 

 

Above are further examples of sound and audio works that inspired my choice of sound, and my input in the asset building within the team.

References:

Nico. (1970). All That Is My Own. [Online Video]. 3 February 2011. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AAQn93RUjVY. [Accessed: 17 January 2017].

Anton Newcombe. (2008). Who Cares Why?. [Online Video]. 18 July 2007. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K91ls9ZtGiU. [Accessed: 17 January 2017].

Laurie Anderson. (1982). Big Science. [Online Video]. 7 November 2014. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTHiN6Qwdgs&list=PLBYTxcsx8bFgEq71RHu-VK_iZ72V6QnFh. [Accessed: 17 January 2017].

4. Brainstorming and Presenting

 

Day 5 – Monday was presentation day. The level of stress went up a notch on the morning of Monday as we prepared to half something substantial to present to Chris and Holger.

The panorama creation and ideation on level 7 left us with a visual proposition to build a theoretical statement on and research further.

Myself, Helen, Gisele and Louise all did some amount of research to gain a theoretical position to have a basis for proceeding. I personally slipped back to the anthropology field that I studied years ago to come up with some key notions and concepts to build on:

  • Schismogenesis

  • Liminality.

Given the nature of the estuary from our current understanding, I firstly looked into the thresholds, liminality and ‘the space in-between’.

In this space in between, two opposing forces can unite – I like to think that the lion and the lamb will lie together if the rain outside is hard enough.

This idea is embodied in Janus, the two-faced Roman god of warfare, originally deity of doors and thresholds, his two faces representing the simple fact that from a door one can see both ways (Szakolczai, 2009). In addition to this, the notion brought forward by Plutonian thought connotes the intruder, which can be linked to the rigidity of the Arthropod will intrude the fluidity the thoughts of one’s mind.

This leads us to present the idea that the creation of division, or schismogenesis can take place in the estuary and yet the estuary will remain intact and functioning.

 

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Anthropologist Gregory Bateson (1935) came to the recognition that societies can be stuck for a long time in a state where the previous unity was broken, and yet the schismatic components are forced to stay together, producing an unpleasant, violent, harrowing, truly miserable existence (Szakolczai, 2009).

This brought forward the notion that opposing forces exist in the same environment. This led into Helens research into the dictomony of Plato and Homer.

Our statement on our theoretical position was contributed to by all, but Gisele wrote it out:

“Our concept explores the fluctuation between the rational and emotional mind. Our estuary focuses on the ebb and flow of water currents as they combine and divide from and to different river paths. The rational and emotional mind is concurrent, intertwined, but separate and working on separate axes. An experience will be considered territory or intruder depending on which mind is taking priority. External stimuli affects and influences the mind towards a certain state. One can change between emotional and rational states of mind, but it is a slower, more specific, targeted approach. This emulates the movement of estuaries where the freshwater adjusts to become salt water.”

 

Bateson, G, 1935. Culture Contact and Schismogenesis. Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, [Online]. Vol. 35 (Dec., 1935), 178. Available at: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2789408?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents [Accessed 29 January 2017].

 

Szakolczai, A, 2009. Liminality and Experience: Structuring transitory situations and transformative events. International Political Anthropology, [Online]. Vol. 2 (2009) No. 1, 151-155. Available at: http://s3.amazonaws.com/academia.edu.documents/34746291/ipa_journal_1_2009_szakolczai.pdf?AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAIWOWYYGZ2Y53UL3A&Expires=1485673850&Signature=5smmU%2Fiu8bLZfMlKSxlE74Gwcqk%3D&response-content-disposition=inline%3B%20filename%3DLiminality_and_Experience_Structuring_tr.pdf [Accessed 29 January 2017].

 

US Environmental Protection Agency. (2011). What’s An Estuary? Now You Know.. [Online Video]. 7 September 2011. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLumSN4G5P4. [Accessed: 29 January 2017].

 

3. Find a concept & a narrative

 

On day 3 we continued to look at motionbuilder and later in the day we moved on to softimage. I felt like I was getting a grasp of the software and could start to envisage how I might be able to create a narrative. Allowing a narrative to come forth in motionbuilder is an aspect to this course that I felt is necessary and yet I could not hide the feeling that the motion capture data that the class collected from Dean Walsh may have been a limiting factor.

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(above) Early attempts at building particles.

I considered this a part and parcel with the ‘journey’ of the subject as described by Chris – which I was more than happy to allow to unfold. In the afternoon of day 3 the class was introduced to softimage (image below). I was pleasantly surprised at its usuability after Holger talked about how difficult it may be for some people.

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On day 4 we met on level 7 and manually developed a visual narrative to take back into the software. This was a good team building exercise and after the challenge of all getting on the same page, we decided on the preliminary concept of the intrusion of thoughts into a territory. From here we attempted to extend this thinking to adapt to the brief. I introduced the idea of rational or logical thinking versus emotional thinking and the dicotomy thereof.

I brought in a number of materials to work with and some images to inspire and work off. I have always loved and studied in my own time mid 20th century art in America – mostly the abstract impressionists and similarly, the experimental music scene in new york and the US in the late 70’s and 1980’s. As such I brought in some images that epotomise that era in painting, image and sound to inspire myself and the team (below).

 

I settled on (clockwise from top-left) an early Jackson Pollock painting from the 1940s, AR Penck painting from 1990, A Man Ray photograph, a drawn choreographed dance diagram, lined dancers image, an Orozco painting from the 1950s.

The group was generally accepting of the images I brought in and they helped in the structure of the panorama (below).

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The following entries into my note book are the foundations of our group direction. At the end of day 4 the group and myself were hitting a road block in terms of the progression of our design response. No-one seemed to be on the same page, although everyone seemed to be on similar pages. I suggested going down the path decribed in the image below where by the estuary is a metaphor for the division of thoughts in the mind. We talked about how to include the subsets of territory and intruder and established that from time to time people have intrusive thoughts that are not wanted, nor were they planted in ones mind knowingly. An example of this that I found was advertising, ie. mcdonalds – ‘i’m loving it’, or a more insideous example – a recurring negative thought that one may associate with a place, a sound or a feeling.

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Below are my clarifycations of what I thought was expected of myself and the group. I tried to maintain to the group that the visualisations needed dynamics to establish a narrative. A crescendo may be neccessary or appearing and disappearing elements. I found it too early to speculate about such details too much without getting my feet wet in the data arena.

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Image references:

David Alfaro Siqueiros, (1969), Vista Aerea [ONLINE]. Available at: https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/beta/u/0/asset/vista-aerea/FgEgHUKC5i3hwg [Accessed 20 January 2017].

AR Penck, (1983), TXT [ONLINE]. Available at: http://www.artnet.com/artists/ar-penck/txt-a-kJoSbLPSElqUEoE4jFTTww2 [Accessed 20 January 2017].

Jackson Pollock, (1959), Herbert Orth [ONLINE]. Available at: https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/beta/u/0/asset/-/DQGW2PNdsE7pyQ [Accessed 20 January 2017].

Man Ray, (1922), Rayography [ONLINE]. Available at: http://www.manray-photo.com/catalog/popup_image.php?pID=1607&image=0&osCsid=f58ffa0eb0fdfb2bf1118bb0e73db1c4 [Accessed 20 January 2017].

1. Introduction and Motionbuilder

Day 1:

Immersion, Data Visualisation and Movement was vastly different to the preconceived ideas I had of it. As I was explaining to Cory, who left after day 1, I think the word ‘data’ threw me off. I had imagined something to do with info-graphics. This course is an introduction to animation, animation software where expression is facilitated through choreography. Chris and Holger took us through was we could expect in the two and half weeks and I was ready to get into it.

Day 1 allowed me to get my head wrapped around these ideas and with a bang we were learning how to use Autodesk Motionbuilder. Holgar brought us into this vitual world and he worked fast, so I kept up and learned the basics.

 

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Motionbuilder: A brave new world of dance and choreography.

 

I learnt a lot from the first day on motionbuilder and luckily I’ve had my fair share of time spent on solidmodelling and design software so I was able to get the idea quickly enough. As I discovered at some point throughout day 1, knowledge of animation software, research and processes would be key here – of which I knew none. I quickly established some basic assistance from animation students who clarified some foundational things for me.

The afternoon took us into the data arena for the first time. I was excited and very much looking forward to experiencing what it was capable of.

We had a look at Google’s ‘Earth’ (minus China and N. Korea) which brought on my first bought of motion sickness and vertigo. In any case I thoroughly enjoyed google earth being used in this fashion and the guide who was taking us through it had a lot to say about the technical specification of the computers running the whole operation. Interesting stuff. The point of the data arena tour that grabbed me was its ability to creatively display data. The Government and food characteristics data sets that were displayed enabled the viewer to look at specific characteristics of the data in a whole new way. It may have been a little bland but I actually loved it. The whole time I was imagining other ways to use it in this fashion, for example commuter behaviour or people flow in crowded areas.

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(above) Observing Dean Walsh’s choreography of an Arthropod.