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Or more accurately 3D animation, real time computer graphics and projection mapping interacting with electronic music to create something that merges theater set design and production, cinema, live music and virtual reality. One could imagine a character out of say, Blade Runner, walking into a concert or nightclub scene resembling what I saw in this performance. Unfortunately it wasn’t live but on YouTube, though it would be quite an experience to see it at the Sydney Opera House in person. As usual, my discovery was out of tune with any sequential time sequence as I’m busy bouncing all over the place.

I first stumbled upon it while looking up Amon Tobin, the Brazilian electronic musician who collaborated on this project with director Vello Virkhaus, media production collective V Squared Labs, Leviathan and set designer Vita Motus. The music was originally from Tobin’s album ISAM (which has been a part of my lounge room ‘ambience’ lately), an Acronym for “Invented Sound Applied to Music”, the record was: ‘an experiment in synthesizing field recordings and transforming them into new physically playable instruments to create unique sound palettes.’

The set itself at various times looks like a dystopian city of the future, a mass of broken T.V. sets, a giant game of Tetris or some kind of self conscious but irrational space ship with Tobin embedded in the structure as the captain. It’s at times a disorienting 21st century version of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis assembled from musique and video concrete sources, filtered through Kraftwerk’s industrial elegance and finally interpreted by the mix, match and fusion of DJ culture. This is a one of a kind audio/visual spectacle and definitely worth your time dear reader. Let it paint unique pictures in your own mind.



vsquaredlabs.com

amontobin.com

 

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Zoetrope strip, France, c. 1873

Wow, what to say about this? I can’t remember how I actually stumbled upon these animations, but the hypnotic, repetitive and macabre nature of them stuck with me. They seemed old as well, like really early animation stills revolving on a turntable. Well they date mostly from the 19th century and are in the collection of one Richard Balzer, who has been converting them into GIF’s and publishing them in his virtual online museum. A hobby dating back some 40 years, he apparently has thousands of illustrations and machines.

Phenakistascope England 1833

Transferring what people using devices such as the Phenakistoscope (1832) and the Zoetrope (1833) used to experience (respectively a circular disc and cylindrical drum spun by hand, creating the illusion of a looping animation) into digital form is I think invaluable, both from a historical and artistic point of view. Each illustration was photographed and then sequenced in Photoshop. It’s fascinating to see current technology bringing the past back to life since most of us are unlikely to own one of the original machines.

Phenakistoscope disc, Fores (publisher), Moving Panorama, England, 1833.

Really, I’m just scratching the surface here. For more in depth information check out the links below:

The Richard Balzer Collection

The psychedelic and grotesque proto-GIFs of the 19th century

 

Well here is another book I’ve been after: “Saul Bass: A Life in Film & Design”, hopefuly I can grab it in the next few months. It seems to have inspired a few people out there, as evidenced in this video tribute by Ian Albinson. It compiles some of Saul’s best known work. He is also founder and editor-in-chief of artofthetitle.com.

Aspiring writers, animators, designers, film-makers and photographers can register with Eyeka and share their creations online and even win prizes. Check it out and join up if you like what you see.

http://en.eyeka.asia/

The official blurb:

Since 2001, OFFF festival has been held in Barcelona, becoming the globally recognized and trendsetting event it is today. The three-day festival showcases top digital artists, web, print and interactive designers, motion graphics studios, and new music adventurous. OFFF festival provides insight into all culture media platforms.

But OFFF is more than an event about any of these disciplines. More than a design conference, a multimedia trade fair, or a digital animation festival. OFFF is an enthusiastic celebration of a new visual culture.

OFFF is spreading the work of a generation of creators that are breaking all kind of limits. Those separating the commercial arena from the worlds of art and design; music from illustration, or ink and chalk from pixels. Artists that have grown with the web and receive inspiration from digital tools, even when their canvas is not the screen.

OFFF dreams about the future, and then writes the code for it.

Sounds fantastic, doesn’t it? Would love to visit or even better, take part in this some day..

 

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