animating the tarot trumps [ processing ]

My colleague Christian Kriegeskotte composed a set of piano pieces that are, for the lack of a better word, portraits of the Tarot Trumps. He funded recording this work, ably performed by pianist Eric Clark, via Kickstarter.

I have at various times incorporated imagery or made creative process decisions with Tarot cards in mind. I have not, however, explicitly worked with this material.

Since Tarot is, for me, a living set of principals, it made sense to put ‘image into motion’. I’m abstracting the forms that so often get reduced to cartoon-like images. Color choices are inspired by the same Tarot deck Christian used for his inspiration; as the project moves forward, color will gain its own closed system of internal reference. Movement and form are relative to individual cards’ meanings and mutual relationships in the system.

I’m using Processing to code these animations, capturing them to video and then editing them further in Final Cut Pro X. Its a fun puzzle, using complicated tools to work very simply. I’m enjoying this process a great deal!

Videos :
0 Le Fou
I Le Bateleur
II La Papesse
III L’Imperatrice
IV L’Empereur
V Le Pape

 

Project stills : at my flickr

Purchase the music here: argentowl.bandcamp.com/album/le-mat-xxii-arcana

Gogol’s Overcoat: The Gravedigger’s Meditation [ view online through 2/28 ]

 

 

The Gravediggers Meditation-HD 720p 1750

untitled video still : the gravedigger’s meditation

 

An experiment in audience relationships, exhibitions, intimacy, the internet – – I’m streaming The Gravedigger’s Meditation at station-number-six.com through Feb. 28. After that, it disappears into the land of ‘password protected screener’ as I work to get it shown elsewhere.

Vladimir Nabokov said of Gogol: “When, as in the immortal The Overcoat, he really let himself go and pottered on the brink of his private abyss, he became the greatest artist that Russia has yet produced.” Gogol’s story of a poor, quiet copyist who finagles a new overcoat in the bitterest of Russian winters. Then, the coat is stolen; what was a blessing becomes a disaster.

This animation – – yes, I did steal images of overcoats from the internet in order to make it … The piece is also a meditation on the relationship of copying, language-as-object, record-keeping, and technology to a community’s memory. There may be a wink at the commodification of appearances but you know, the first rule of capitalist materialism is you don’t talk about how it works.

Animation frankensteined together in Adobe AfterEffects from parts created with QT7, Processing, and Quartz Composer. Audio created & mixed in Apple Logic, better with headphones.

 

artist statement : the ungun project

I’ve been making unguns. I steal pictures of guns and make something else with them. Yes I’m trafficking in stolen guns when I do this. Aesthetic vandalism. Wasn’t the Matrix trilogy founded on that image of ‘bullet time’, the old Native American ghost dance promise that we could stop bullets?

The act of aesthetic vandalism neuters the image of the gun. The images become ~ if they were actual objects, were they actually fired, they would misfire, fire into themselves, or not fire at all.

Humans can express a nourishing connection with each other using guns only by relinquishing them.

I started working with still images, which I ‘broke’ using databending techniques. Then I started making gifs.Then I decided to make a longer video, pushing the image into word-definition space. The dance of illusion, projection, metaphor. I sampled audio from popular entertainment that uses guns so much in their narratives that, as a friend once put it, the movie is really “gun goes on adventure, gun beats the bad guys, gun gets the girl, gun gets revenge” . . .

I’m witnessing illusions of “political ramifications of ideas about guns” shatter social relationships between otherwise reasonable people. Histrionic reactions to the object, in many directions, prevent people from having reasonable conversation. The object, and whether or not or how it is regulated, shatters our ability to discuss the thing sanely.

trigger quilt

 

in process : stills from i.thou : chapter ~ 19

i.thou : chapter ~ 19 (flight)

i.thou : chapter ~ 19 (flight)

i.thou : chapter ~ 19 (19)

i.thou : chapter ~ 19 (19)

i.thou : chapter ~ 19 (nikita in kitchen)

i.thou : chapter ~ 19 (nikita in kitchen)

i.thou : chapter ~ 19 (baby crocodile)

i.thou : chapter ~ 19 (baby crocodile)

i.thou : chapter ~ 19 (19)

i.thou : chapter ~ 19 (19)

these stills are taken from a 4 minute sketch i worked up the last few days. this is for the next chapter of the film in progress, i.thou.

the chapter or excerpt is titled “19”. the moshing technique assists the viewer take a meditative journey on identity, memory, witnessing, transpersonal consciousness, the tellable story, and the problem of unbelievable experience.

the still image of the girl named “19” is taken from the television show CSI. the source video shots used (pre-processing and ‘mosh’) look like the two stills that follow:

i.thou : chapter ~ 19 (source still)

i.thou : chapter ~ 19 (source still)

i.thou : chapter ~ 19 (source still)

i.thou : chapter ~ 19 (source still)

guns & ammo : an animation

i created this video originally for a performance artist’s one-woman show in 2007. the animated gun motif is one that i’ve used since 2006. it is a potent symbol for violation of will and defense of same, this hand-held machine used only to maim or kill others.

i revisited it today because someone in my town shot and killed three police officers responding to a domestic disturbance call. Wrote an essay about the nesting boxes of powerlessness regarding domestic violence for The New Yinzer. I used the animation for an illustration.

You can read the essay here

as i wrote when i posted this animation to youtube …

what a lethal illusion, the allure of the gun & its ammunition. today some people in my town spent a lot of ammunition at each other. some of them died. i get extremely frustrated by our culture’s inability to deal with our incivility in any other way than with violence.

so i make animations. isn’t it beautiful, this illusion that a gun or some immediate violence (pull that trigger!) will solve those problems for you?

but they don’t. it just keeps going.

using the weapons of destruction to create instead

John Whitney created the Catalog 1961 animation reel using a WWII anti-aircraft gunsight. He reconfigured it to be an animation-creation machine …

from youTube : John Whitney’s demo reel of work created with his analog computer/film camera magic machine he built from a WWII anti-aircraft gun sight. Also Whitney and the techniques he developed with this machine were what inspired Douglas Trumbull (special fx wizard) to use the slit scan technique on 2001: A Space Odyssey

interview with john lennon, animated

In 1969, a 14-year-old Beatle fanatic named Jerry Levitan snuck into John Lennon’s hotel room in Toronto and convinced him to do an interview. 38 years later, Levitan, director Josh Raskin and illustrators James Braithwaite and Alex Kurina have collaborated to create an animated short film using the original interview recording as the soundtrack. A spellbinding vessel for Lennon’s boundless wit and timeless message, I Met the Walrus was nominated for the 2008 Academy Award for Animated Short and won the 2009 Emmy for ‘New Approaches’ (making it the first film to win an Emmy on behalf of the internet).