Speak Your Mind

Every artist needs to hear feedback from people about her work to see different perspectives on the work. I encourage you to leave comments, ideas and questions on the blog.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Broken Rainbow Cloudy Night

I originally wrote this post for the Netfilmmakers.dk blog in which this machinima is being shown. The actual machinima is online here.

Getting Started

Broken Rainbow Cloudy Night took place in the night sky of Second Life 300 meters above the Brooklyn Is Watching sim in mid 2008. As the name suggests, it was a cloudy night and I purposely set up the installation at the level in the sky where the clouds form the thickest. I had become curious about what kind of space and visual experience could be possible using lines at 90 degrees alternating in color and translucency. As with many of my virtual works, I wanted an experience where patterns both visual and audio revealed themselves as the avatar viewer moved (in this case flew) through the work. Broken Rainbow was created incrementally, as it developed I layered new 3D shapes (prims), scripts that determined motion and random color, the outer contained pattern, animation and interactive soundscape. While I have never been much of a painter, I believe this piece developed much like an abstract painting in multiple x,y,z planes.

Use of Color and Light
I was trying to push the intensity of color and glowing light to almost uncomfortable levels using primary colors on a black night sky. And by using a native Second Life glow effect compounded by transparency, I wanted to at times overwhelm the viewer and at others fade out to negative space. One surprise was the way the layers of zig-zag patterns acidly burned through each, largely depending on how the viewer positioned herself. I was interested in how color and light could alternate between solid and transparent, flattening the viewing plane and then dropping away to reveal space beyond.

The Machinima
Unlike most of my works in Second Life which I have copy of backed up in my avatar's inventory, due to an unfortunate event this video is all that remains of the piece. So in a way, the work only exists today in a machinima state. With the video, I intended to place the viewer in the position of my avatar to replicate as much as possible the experience of being present within the light installation. This was done by moving through the piece and capturing the immersive quality of the experience, viewing the forms and light affects in a variety of positions, and triggering the audio as a soundscape effected by the avatar's motion. It was important for this video to show the avatar's body in relation to the art work to understand the ephemeral yet architectural quality of the piece. In other machinima I have made I chose not to show the avatar in reference to the piece to take a more filmic approach. However, this video was intended to show the interaction of the avatar in time and space rather be a disembodied camera. I find this more compelling as it focuses us on the idea of an alternate space (what DC Spensley has dubbed hyperformalism) that borrows little from real life yet is still in relation to a simulated physical being and our interactions in the environment. In this way, it stretches the idea of the abstract. More important to me, the immersiveness makes us aware of ourselves in a situation, having an experience and bringing our own interpretations to the piece.

On Painting, Film and Space
As both the creator and spectator of Broken Rainbow, I often felt that I was creating a new kind of painting that had the potential of taking on any number of compositions. Then it occurred to me that the kinetic quality bordered on filmmaking, creating frame upon frame of continuous, non-narrative experience. Yet precursor to both the 2D painterly quality and the machinima was the installation and this notion that this was a virtual space that one could explore and be present inside. I believe one's perspective of the piece depends a great deal on each viewer's level of interaction and one's preconceptions of the piece. Because of these contradictions, showing the work as machinima raises questions about what we're looking at and how we think about art.
blog comments powered by Disqus