The first combines the paint on canvas animation, which uses the 15 second tune given to me at the start of the project, with further experiments with leaves, twigs and paint on glass.
After completing the painted animation, I decided the end scene flickering could take the mood in a new direction, creating a sinister feeling amplified by a thunderstorm sound. I also wanted to explore an Autumnal theme, and decided to use dried leaves as subjects for animation. Below are three different animations made with the rostrum camera.
I was keen to create a visual meditation, a contrast after the vibrancy of the paint on canvas animation. I recorded some sounds including city streets, the sea, crumpling leaves, and my own voice, and used them over the top of the naimation to create interesting variations in the mood of the piece. I experimented with certain distortions of sound: for my voice, I slowed down the tempo and reduced the pitch, to create an otherworldly groan, for example. I compilated all these experiments in one piece, added the soundtrack, and finished with this ↓
Also for the project I explored how still images combined with After Effects frame blending could create a surreal examination of an environment. I went to several different locations around the centre of Edinburgh, and also back in my home town of Berwick, and took photographs every two or three steps. Put together in a sequence in After Effects, and with the digital wizardry known as frame blending, I was able to create a compilation that I feel is also a meditation on my current surroundings.
To this piece I added pre-recorded soundscapes of Edinburgh, as well as a recording of footsteps. I think the effect is one of great fascination. The viewer moves through the world smoothly, which would not seem the case if the series of photos were played back as a normal sequence. The technique gives the impression that the animation is a video recording almost. The fact that the world morphs around a central point gives a dreamy, semi-focused feeling. One element is in focus and real, the rest is transient. Though we are aware of surroundings, they are fleeting, real for only a second, before they change, and we barely notice.
It brought to mind the philosopher Alan Watt's discussion about spotlight consciousness in contrast with floodlight consciousness, where every day we are conscious of our environment in different ways. We can focus our attention on one specific thing (spotlight) while still being aware of everything else (floodlight). I found the effect a curious metaphor for this. We can go for days, even weeks, focused on one thing, one aim, one purpose, and yet the rest of the world morphs as a kind of soup around us.
To elaborate, here in his own words, Alan Watts discusses this idea:
" Being very general, we have two kinds of consciousness. One I will call the “spotlight,” and the other the “floodlight.” The spotlight is what we call conscious attention, and that is trained into us from childhood as the most valuable form of consciousness. When the teacher in class says “Pay attention!” everybody stares, and looks fast at the teacher. That is spotlight consciousness; fixing your mind on one thing at a time. You concentrate, and even though you may not be able to have a very long attention span, nevertheless you concentrate; use your spotlight: one thing after another, one thing after another…
But we also have another kind of consciousness which I'll call the floodlight. For example, you can drive your car for several miles with a friend sitting next to you, and your spotlight consciousness will be completely absorbed in talking to your friend. Nevertheless, your floodlight consciousness will manage the driving of the car, will notice all the stoplights, the other idiots on the road, and so on, and you will get there safely without even thinking about it. "
From the lecture 'Myth of Myself', listened to on Youtube, at 31:30 - 32:50
Here is the final animation ↓