Analog, Alter, Augment

Old tech, new tech & the moving picture.

The blog has been a lot of listing lately. Mostly it's a function of the fact that my critical thinking ebbs in the muggy, sweaty, sticky Summer months that are upon us but it is also a function of life-related stresses! Hopefully things will fall into place soon and the storms will perpetually echo off the mountains, cooling my brain into a state of thought but until is a list of recent film innovations, events, things that I think are integral to the not so distant futures & pasts of visual storytelling!

1. Mountain App. David OReilly is a visual artist best known for creating the crass interactive fictional videogame in the movie Her, but he's been making visual art for a long time before that. When I read about his new/first app Mountain I was annoyed: a "game" of a mountain simulator where kinda nothing happens? But, after downloading it I now completely get it: it is a prolonged, animated, falsely interactive, extended story that- like a pet- I perpetually project my emotions & understandings onto. The quiet beauty of a spinning rocky mass suspended in some sort of galaxy, changing weather, small events, and the calming white noise of a wind swept atmosphere is hypnotic & beautiful. Supposedly there is an ending to the "game" and there is some vague cosmic statement made by OReilly about each experience being different in the sense that "Everything interacts with itself and everything around it throughout time and space." The assumption that each Mountain is unique is amazing, the personal identification and the use of the phrase "my mountain" that the friends I have using the app are inclined towards makes me think some untapped audience need has been created here.  The app is more like watching a narrative about the life of an animated anthropomorphized habitat, and- like any good hero on screen- it is perfectly making us identify with it: this is a new type of filmmaking. Warning: do not confuse Mountain with Rock Simulator.

🗻 Mountain 🗻 from David OReilly on Vimeo.

2. 3D Projection Mapping. I used to think projection mapping was the same as projection masking but it is not. Masking is when a projector or surface is altered to accommodate an image, like tape put on a projector to mold the picture to a particular architectural element. Projection Mapping is when abnormal surfaces or shapes are projected onto. 3D Projection Mapping is a system of elaborately imaging a structure or space and creating programmed, multi-dimensional seeming projections that are able to (usually) interact precisely to that space.

The creative end of 3D projection mapping really is in its infancy, the content is not particularly artful, often a pure advertisement or dance-like abstraction and EDM (or whatever) seems to be the preferred soundtrack for the medium...but there is intense potential for visual storytelling here!!! Imagine if going to the movies meant sitting in a space in which the whole theater was exquisitely mapped, events unfolding around you? Personally I prefer this to any Oculus Rifting...but maybe it's because, despite the hi-techness of it, there is still a real, communal physicality taking place, a large scale, immersive augmented reality that could maybe be a new movie going experience?

3. Wenders is coming back with 3d! This time a fiction film! Called Everything Will Be Fine! Sheesh....this guy....! After experiencing Pina and his groundbreaking use of 3d- seeing it as a new, beautiful tool to tell a story with as opposed to simply a special effect that sits atop a movie to instill shock & awe- I am beyond excited to see what he does with a narrative...and a narrative in which there is a car crash!!!! Ok...I like some shock & awe: BUT IT WILL PROBABLY BE BREATHTAKING AT LEAST! Also, Fact: Wim Wenders is hotter than Franco!

4. The New Museum is having a panel/book launch for what looks like a great tech-moving-image title, The Emergence of Video Processing Tools. It seems the book charts the co-opting & creation of electronic tools for creative moving image production. And it doesn't seem to be a loose overview of the intersection of art & tech either, the book looks like it ponders larger questions regarding obsolescence, aesthetics, history (manifestos anyone? shudder....), & the distinct communities that evolved during the onset of machine/tool imaging in the 60s & 70s. A resource that thinks about tech art in an art historical and a tech historical sense as opposed to the general/trendy (remember New Aesthetic?) language the genre has been breeding is vital! Maybe I can convince my smalltown library to buy this book, no? The discussion & book launch take place on July 13th at 3pm at The New Museum, NYC.

5. This Friday, the 11th, in Baltimore (and traveling to a city maybe near YOU!) a bunch of the lo-fi, lo-res tech that is mentioned above will be put to use at The Basement Media Fest, being presented by Sight Unseen at The Holy Underground. I have no idea what any of this means but who can resist a description that includes this: COME ENJOY SOME 100 YR OLD TECH IN A STATE OF THE ART CONVERTED BODEGA THEATER.///WARNING/// SUM OF THESE MOVIES FEATURE FLICKERING LIGHT AND RAPIDLY CHANGING MOTION. MAY CAUSE SEIZURES/MOTION SICKNESS. IF YOU HAVE TO SPEW, SPEW IN THIS.

I had this weird feeling the other day about how dated our CGI of now might be in a few decades. Will we look back & laugh (like I do at Titanic )? Will our tools continue to improve? What does the definition of "improve" even look like when we can invent machines that can create things our eyes can't even see? How scientific advancement can inspire, improve, move beyond a human realm of existence, or even just create plain joy will never, ever stop being fascinating to me.



Donna K. lives in the Midwest and on the internet. Mostly she writes about her interest in the offline world.