There is a lengthy description of various aspects concerning the creation of Schwarzchild there.
In 1968 when writing a catalog entry for my first film, Atmosfear, the expression "The figure of the fact and the fact of the figure" sprang to mind. Thirty odd years later it remains an adequate description of my intent.
My four year old calls for me to show him one iota at least once a day. He's watching it as I write now. "I want my spirals." he announces, and once they are playing he wants to be left alone. "Dad go." However, when he comes to two iota, which he has named for a spider and its web which he identifies with Schwarzchild, he wants me to watch with him. He doesn't know his father made Forevermore, and he isn't particularly enamored of it either, in part because it only has a few instances of spirals.
But those few spirals in Forevermore are a good embodiment of my credo. They are made from the image of the hands of the pianist which earlier appears as a foreground to a scene set in a nightclub. Wrapped in multiples around a center and then repeated vertically in receding size, the hand spirals imitate the conical tree behind them. Here I have captured a figure from a fact by turning a pianist's hands into an abstraction and then suggested a fact, the shape of a tree, via the figure of those spirals in motion. Other trees are abstracted from human figures, and the real tree shots are manipulated to a certain level of abstraction.
The tension between the real and the abstract is much like a bittersweet chocolate, containing enough of opposite tastes to strike a balance in the middle. This is certainly not absolute animation but rather derives its motivation from a relative balance between two extremes. In my etymological epistemology the meaning of meaning is the mean, the middle way as Socrates would say.
If my goals haven't changed in all these years, the technology certainly has. Painting, photography, films, videos, analog computers, digital computers, optical computers, and holography have all been drawn into the mix. As an exercise for my students in video production, Forevermore had a component of studio recording and videotape editing. An Amiga Toaster was part of the special effects equipment in our classroom. I augmented the class tapes with animation made using Deluxe Paint on an Amiga, produced some ectoplasmic effects using a PIPE image processor, and then re-edited the entire lot of takes to produce a series of segments that were combined into the edit you see by using another Amiga that supported the Flyer non-linear editor. As I only managed one Flyer session on my budget, a layer that was in preparation for the near-field foreground was never included.
The 3D aspect of Forevermore traces back many years to stereo and auto-stereoscopic experiments in the late 70's. Pulfrich 3D was a trick I learned in order to contribute to a couple of music videos commissioned by the Rolling Stones in 1990. My primary activity these days is development of a 3D camera using my own holographic method, but displaying in 3D a closely related interest.
Left to my own composers after the Rolling Stones commission, I asked Happy Rhodes to pick a tune. It could have been any of many; she has yet to release a piece I don't like. At that moment "Feed the Fire" was getting airplay, so we went with it. The song is a tribute to the artists who inspired her work, as she did mine. With one of the sequences where the refrain "forevermore" is repeated, my mind heard, "forevermore endeavor more." I released the video with that thought in mind.
Randall Jones & Andrew Schloss
My piece, VideothonCentric, was realized by a multi-step improvisational process. I started with video (shot by myself), and still photography (some of my own, from a collection that goes back 30 years, and some stock photography.)
I bring the still images and some of the video into After Effects, and create processed and composite images using them, often using filters that I have written as part of my day job. I bring these images into Media 100 and create sequences to mix live. The working process is very intuitive and improvisational -- I decide I want to work with a certain kind of image and search for it in my collection, think about what kinds of processes (often symmetry) to apply to it and what it can be combined with, set up some renders, look at the results, and decide whether to do more, or where it goes next.
In live performance, I bring 3 S VHS decks, a Panasonic WJ MX 30 Mixer, a Videonics MX -1 mixer, and about five boxes of tapes that I have created from the sequences whose making I described briefly above. I also set up some feedback loops between the output and input of the mixers, and mix live to (usually) improvising musicians, attempting to select source material that complements (or appropriately contrasts) with the music being played, and try to keep my phrasing on the video mixers connected with the phrasing of the musicians.
VideothonCentric was created by recording a couple of studio mixers to a piece by one of the bands I like to work with. The recording process was similar to the performance process, with a little more gear (an Elite Video Processor and a stream coming off the Media100). I then digitized these two takes, lined them up together in the Media 100 timeline, and cut or faded from one to the other as seemed appropriate in the editing process.
On a broader level, I could describe my aims as
A Very Brief History of Lumia
I made the piece to set forth this proposition. A new art has, for some time, been emerging. Men and women, now long passed, have given form to the new art. They have thought deeply, experimented boldly, and challenged us with their dreams and their words. In selecting text I wanted to represent the traditions thinkers concretely. I wanted to take viewers beyond the observation that people have been thinking about this art form for quite a while, to some appreciation for the depth of their thinking. While I was working on the piece, I recalled a line from a book on typography Words are pictures, too. So the piece is driven by their words.
One common reaction to the piece is that it is too dense, that it goes by too fast. I was tempted to edit it but decided that this response is in a way the point of the piece, and of my work generally. For me, the most essential questions facing the creators of lumia are not how is light like music? or can music be interpreted visually? The interesting questions are can visuals produce the emotional impact of music? and can visuals be created that benefit from repeated viewing as music benefits from repeated hearing? In this piece, it happens because several media don't quite blend together. In the case of other pieces, it will be because the blend is so subtle and finely tuned that one keeps sensing pleasure in the experience of it.
All of the image segments were rendered in real-time using Imager running on a G4 Mac. The aspect ratios for the image areas are all 1:1 (square) or 1:6 (phi). The segments, text, music and voice-over were mixed using Final Cut Pro. As I storyboarded the piece I kept hearing the voice of Ken Nordin reciting my simple narrative. He was kind enough to make my imagination real. This piece was produced under a tight deadline. I actually view it as the rough cut for a web-based version I expect to complete soon.
Relating the piece to the collection as a whole, I have this thought. I think that most of the people whos ideas are cited in A Very Brief History of Lumia would be pleased to see the collection. David Bowie has remarked that the eye is hungrier than the ear. As Nancy suggests in her toast, this collection seems to be saying, Let them eat.
Copyright 2000 Fred Collopy. This document was last updated on