I would like to explore some of the techniques I have been researching in some more detail to create animated, abstract landscapes that explore the relationship between the surreal and the recognisable.
Maybe looking deeper into the meanings behind surrealism and the history of the art movement will give me some more understanding of that relationship. Also experimenting with modern techniques like macro photography and 3D and older, less used techniques like slit-scan photography will hopefully provide some interesting results. I would also like to explore these techniques by hand rather than digitally to get a more organic feel like the Lynn Fox and Craig Ward pieces.
Originally used in static photography to achieve blurriness or deformity, the slit-scan technique was perfected for the creation of spectacular animations. It enables the cinematographer to create a psychedelic flow of colors. Though this type of effect is now often created through computer animation, slit-scan is a mechanical technique. It was adapted for film by Douglas Trumbull during the production of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and used extensively in the “stargate” sequence. It requires an imposing machine, capable of moving the camera and its support. This type of effect was revived in other productions, for films and television alike. For instance, slit-scan was used by Bernard Lodge to create the Doctor Who title sequences for Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker used between December 1973 and 1979. Slit-scan was also used in Star Trek: The Next Generation to create the “stretching” of the starship Enterprise-D when it engaged warp drive. Due to the expense and difficulty of this technique, the same three warp-entry shots, all created by Industrial Light and Magic for the series pilot, were reused throughout the series virtually every time the ship went into warp.
This is the description of the technique on Wikipedia and talks about its origins in animation creating trippy abstract patterns. It has since been adopted by some processing artists to be retrofitted onto video or photography. I’m going to explore it’s origins and applications some more later.
Here’s a few photos of it in action in some films:
Another technique I have been exploring is called slit-scan video. This video on Planetary Folklore is just an experiment in the technique but clearly shows it’s potential as an interesting way to distort images.
Brooding, mysterious and moving suggestively between the abstract and the figurative, Lynn Fox’s work blends analogue and digital to create intricate, richly organic work in moving image or stills. Comprising Patrick Chen, Bastian Glassner and Christian McKenzie - who met studying architecture at University College London - Lynn Fox burst onto the music video scene with “Hayling” for FC Kahuna, in which alien fauna sensuously intertwine. They’ve since created striking CG/live action mash-ups in award-winning commercials and music videos for Björk, Maximo Park and Chris Clark, among others.Personal and editorial work has spanned an impressive breadth of inspiration, genre and tone, mixing old-fashioned photographic techniques with state-of-the-art visual trickery. The wind-swept sheep in “Fury Things” bring to mind a gothic-tinged Pre-Raphaelite landscape, while the viscera and fleshy streaks of “Groom’s Gospel” vividly recall Francis Bacon’s nightmarish visions. Silvery motes and outlines against velvety black in “Swing” meanwhile suggest a modern day Man Ray.
This is the bio of Lynn Fox on Blinkart and is exactly the kind of thing that is exciting me at the moment. As it says they mix old-fashioned techniques with cutting edge CG and other computer arts to create amazing and sometimes bizarre surreal, ephemeral artworks.
Personal project “Balloons” is a dreamy mix of pastel-hued photography and digital painting, that deliberately blurs between abstraction and glimpses of familiar shapes.
I love the idea of blurring abstraction and familiar shapes, exactly the kind of thing I’m trying to explore.
Shot underexposed and in low light in a forest, ghostly silver strands and motes come together to create a delicate, partly formed apparition of a girl on a swing.
Another amazing piece of work that just hits every mark when it comes to what I have been researching. It’s abstract but recognisable, uses camera trickery to view something quite unexciting in an amazing new way and has an unreal, ephemeral feel.
Man Ray-esque auras radiate around abstract formations in a violent spectrum of eerie, luminescent colour.
No idea what is going on here but it’s pretty awesome.
Another fascinating pice of scientific design that the Planetary Folklore blog brings up is the platonic solid…another thing to perhaps delve a little deeper into.
These five Platonic solids are ideal, primal models of crystal patterns that occur throughout the world of minerals in countless variations. These are the only five regular polyhedra, that is, the only five solids made from the same equilateral, equiangular polygons. They are geometrical forms which are said to act as a template from which all life springs. The aesthetic beauty and symmetry of the Platonic solids have made them a favorite subject of geometers for thousands of years. They are named after the ancient Greek philosopher Plato who theorized that the classical elements were constructed from the regular solids. To the Greeks, these solids symbolized fire, earth, air, spirit (or ether) and water.
The Platonic solids are also called “cosmic figures” and are the basic modules for Sacred Geometry. There will be more about Sacred Geometry soon.
As has been written here before, Voronoi diagrams, as a geometric model are fascinating because they can be used to describe almost literally everything: from cell phone networks to radiolaria, at every scale: from quantum foam to cosmic foam. Even the regular lattices and solids, cubes, tetrahedra, and the ways in which they combine, can all be seen as special cases of three dimensional Voronoi. It’s hard not to get mystical about it, but it’s really just the contemporary equivalent of the endless ideal gridded space of modernism or the renaissance, just more exotic and malleable. Geometry is Culture.
This is quite an interesting concept that could be interesting to explore, there is a tutorial with it to make a voronoi diagram so I may have to give it a go.