I have put together a short trailer that demonstrates some of the capabilities of the installation. The work is still in development and I will be posting some more documentation from the recent screening soon, including the performance by vocal group Aluka.
An image from the trailer
For those in Melbourne tonight, there will be a performance of TONE, the interactive installation I’ve been working on. Vocal accapella group Aluka will be on the mic, singing their beautiful harmonies from 7pm at Storey Hall RMIT. Fellow AIM member Glenn has made an excellent website for our studio here. Been a busy few weeks, I’ll have some more screenshots and a trailer uploaded soon.
Thank you to Joshua Batty, Alister Mew, Adam Gooderham, Matthew Riley, Casey Rice, Annabelle, Anna, Rachel and all the staff and students at the AIM centre for all the hard work and assistance throughout the project’s ongoing development.
Been a while between posts…I’ve nearly completed my major project for this semester, a sound responsive interactive installation with the working title of Growth. I’ve been working with the very talented Josh Batty (Musician/Programmer), Alister Mew (Musician/Composer), Adam Gooderham (Musician/Composer) and my AIM mentor Matthew Riley. The project has been built in the MAX/MSP/Jitter programming environment and analyses audio content from a user for it’s pitch value and responds visually in the form of projected animations and harmonic audio. Here’s some stills from the latest iteration.
Been working hard collecting, composing and mixing sound for our group project Substitute for Revolution which is being launched this Monday night. Today is the last day of production, so we’re running to the finish line, testing, building, tweaking, refining and stressing. It’s looking good though from what I have seen so far. That’s the main character above. A disturbed modern young man. You’ll have to come down and find out more about him on Monday. Or read our blog for more of the behind the scenes info.
Earlier in the semester Amy and I helped introduce Karin Riederer from Abbotsford Convent whose has had an extensive career in the Arts in various roles. Here’s a little bit of info about her work that Amy put together:
“Karin Riederer has had a very fluid, diverse and active career in the arts. Karin claims, “She gets a buzz out of helping people do what they want to do.” Karin has been involved with art organisations and artists through her work as Arts & Community Cultural Development Officer through the City of Yarra. She has worked with writers and illustrators as an editor, a publisher and a publicist for companies such as IAD Press, Penguin Books, Allen & Unwin, Lonely Planet and McGraw-HillKarin’s work has taken her to Alice Springs and the Central Western Desert Region of Australia as the manager of the Tjanpi Desert Weavers – a project initiated in 1995 by the NPY Woman’s council.The Tjanpi meaning ‘dry grass’, Desert Weavers is a project working with indigenous women, originated initially as basket weaving workshops to help create employment opportunities, and also to create an opportunity for cultural and creative exchange within communities. Through her role as manager, Karin has been a part of the Desert Weavers community achieving serious recognition in the arts industry.Karin is currently the Tenant Liaison Coordinator at the beautiful Abbottsford convent, in Abbotsford, just near the river and the Collingwood children’s farm. The labyrinth-esque passages of the Covent are home to over 50 studios spaces with currently over 115 tenants practicing in a multitude of disciplines including all walks of art, visual art, design, animation, digital work, sound and music.”
Karin was only the first of many inspiring guest speakers who have come to speak to us every Thursday this semester, many of whom are ex-alumni of the course. It’s a great way of meeting other people working in the industry and seeing what is possible beyond this course.
(The pic above is from a project by Christien Meindertsma. It tells the story of one pig and the many places and forms it ended up in. The new Hunter Gatherer society we live in.)
Concept generation has probably never been a big issue for most artists – I have a dozen notebooks full of ideas that could be developed into projects. But refining those ideas and realising them is a different thing. Before starting this course I had what I thought would be some great ideas to tackle for a minor and major project. But in working through them I realised that they were a bit beyond the few months I had to produce these projects and it’s been a bit of struggle working up some good short form ideas that would be suitable. Always trying to cram everything into one project. That’s the problem with living in a relative universe.
I took some inspiration from examples that Matt showed around the idea of interactive narratives, specifically these ones: Remembering Bogle Chandler and Facade. It also brought up some fond memories of playing Sierra style adventure games like Loom and Colonel’s Bequest. Which also brought me back to the fun I had exploring the Donnie Darko website when I was obsessed with the film like a lot of people I know.
So what I’m working on now for my minor is an interactive narrative, most likely produced in Flash which will tell the story of a woman named Grace Fable who leaves a message for the user to visit her apartment the following night to help her with a dilemma. On reaching the apartment the user finds it empty and learns that Grace has gone missing. The user then must search the apartment using a convenient flashlight to look for clues as to her whereabouts and to look deeper into character of Grace through objects that give forth information about her past.
I’ve written a treatment, and developed a basic structure for the interactive with a basic test in flash of how the flashlight animation might work.
My lecturer Chris said the concept reminded him a little of Raymond Carver’s story Neighbours which has set me off exploring some other tangents about character and space…
More on “minor” progress to come…
You’re invited to my room…(Awesome cowboy cutout by Sam and Chloe)
As a part of my masters I’m getting an opportunity to reintroduce myself to the world of 3D after a couple of abortive attempts at using Lightwave software a few years back. This time I am getting to grips with Maya which I’ve found a lot more intuitive and easy to grasp on a simple level. We made a room for our Collaborative class which had to contain certain elements including a triggered sound, an ambient sound and a word for movement amongst other things. I will try to post a working version of my room soon.
After one of the most complex and extended metaphors I’ve ever experienced we were introduced to the concept of the group project which was to unite our rooms in one space within the Unity software. It’s a really exciting package with lots of possible outcomes. (these are of the game variety). Joe is director on this project and he has been doing an amazing job in creating the structure of this micro-project – we have less than 2 weeks in which to produce it, though thankfully we already have some pretty substantial, and in some cases complete assets with which to construct our 3D real-time interactive project.
Stay tuned for more updates soon and check the group project blog for the juicy stuff.
Generative procedural artwork is something I had never really engaged with prior to this course, always preferring myself or my collaborators to be in control of every aspect of a project. But there have been some really interesting responses to the the brief that was set for our concept development class.
I decided to do some research using a midi controller and Quartz Composer the results of which you can see in these videos:
The results are quite pedestrian graphically as I spent most of my time working out how to use the software and hardware interface which I had only tackled in minor ways before in my previous experiments with Max/MSP. I will return to this method of working though, as I can see lots of possibilities for some rich interactive installation projects.
Agents can be many different things across different types of media, character being one of them. This was an exercise to explore the distinction between a conscious action and an unconscious motivation in a character. Here is my response:
Whether or not this was successful is up for debate – I saw the buildings and environment as reflecting an internal state of fear and tension, and existing purely to illustrate this internal state – but my love of narrative perhaps confused things, and in a rush to complete this exercise I perhaps got a little carried away with storytelling and drifted away from character development. Perhaps a pitfall of a straight-ahead piece.
Our first exercise on the first day of my masters course was to create a collaborative straight-ahead cut-out animation on a lightbox. We were taken through the basics of this style of animation by David Atkinson one of the original directors of this program at RMIT. See some of his excellent work here. So after some brainstorming based around an incident at the state library, Nicky and I created this piece:
Ideally we would like to add sound to the piece at some stage to lend some atmosphere and give the characters a little more depth. Some ominous, schizophrenic jazz music perhaps as well to add to that noir feel.
I really enjoyed working in this style, it’s limitations invite ingenuitive thought and the look of it is really pleasing. Working with light and shadow seems like a really pure application of the animated medium.