monadologie day 14 & 15

Thursday was so baking and heavy, like getting into the trunk of a car on a hot day and being taken for a drive until expiration. And the flies. Something about cattle and poo and thousands of breeders per cow pat and all the runts, scrawny, malformed, malnourished and ravenous come in an insatiable black flying plague to vomit on and suck the nutrients off the lips of us mentally feeble enough to be outside and walking on such days.

We spent a brain-exhausting few hours in the studio of Lucy Guerin learning a few of the short phrase bits that came out of the VR Lab work. I’d spent the previous evening doing Final Cut Pro cut and paste watching Lina then Bonnie, finding stuff that worked – an odd and extremely subjective pursuit that nonetheless is quite clear to see – and ending up with a slew of 5 second tiny monsters to do … something with.

The first day of learning from video this stuff is the hardest. It’s partly getting used to understanding what we’re seeing, especially the transfer of 3-dimensional depth onto 2-dimensional inclines and foreshortenings, it’s also registering the detail and the procession of movement, mapping it onto our bodies, making very biased decisions about how far to go with detail, formulating rules and ideas about all this, and working out what to leave till later. We had this during temperance, and after the first couple of days it became a breeze.

The difference here is that we are working with specific methods (eg 9-point, avoidance, tracing, point, line, surface and volume operations etc) of analysing the VR visualisations, and so early on made a couple of rules that will possibly be very important in the eventual generation of the work. The first, possibly because I’ve been in Final Cut a lot the last couple of days is called bins. In all the improvisations, particular body parts, surfaces, joints, wrinkles, muscles and so on are afforded priority. Besides the general shape of movement over time, which can be reproduced reasonably quickly, these bins, which the rest of the body accommodated itself around are more or less impossible to recreate. They represent the immediate physical acts in response to the visualisations and there’s no way of turning the camera around to find what they were pointed at.

So we came to a decision these would be left open, as long as we knew both what body part was an empty bin at any time, and what operation was taking place within that location, anything could be slotted in (the second rule). This is probably important in the later stages when the work is being generated and a lot of making it up as we going along is happening in regard to external input from a bunch of data.

No photos yet, but Leo is planning to come in on Thursday and draw us, so everyone can see the strange little things we get up to in the studio.

monadologie day 12 & 13

I chose Camera B. The other one, Camera A seemed to be silently petulant around me. Together, they make up the 3-D stereoscopic video camera rig, that much later in the project will be exposed to whatever it is we come up with, so it will exist in trippy, migraine inducing, vertiginous stereoscopic 3-D. Nice.

I was just pointing it at Bonnie and Lina in the murky and dim VR Theatre while they watched different visualisations from the Centre’s recent work. Later I had to delete my entire iTunes to dump the video onto disk. No! 30 gig of music? Gone? Yes! (Lucky I have a backup, no?) So I am planning later in the week on buying a new external drive, I think 1/2 a terabyte would be enough, but as usual, I shall experience … disappointment.

Today we were working with a static rendering of the large scale structure of the universe, which for those of you who don’t hang around people who regularly say things like “weak gravitational lensing due to realistic cosmological distributions of dark matter” (no really, they do, I eavesdrop on the best conversations here) is of a size somewhere between 10kpc and 100Mpc, which in Star Wars terms is much, much, much further than the planet Princess Laea tried to send Grand Moff Tarkin to obliterate instead of Alderaan, which in light years is up to around 350 million light years, which makes our galaxy of 100,000 light years across look unmemorable and likely to make the church issue heretical edicts all over again, which all sounds like bluurrbluurrbluurr to you, so if you look at the photos below, and can see some of the tiny, tiny, blue dots in the black areas, well they’re about ten times the size of our galaxy, which contains around 200 to 400 billion stars. Just for reference, our sun is a star. Oh, and the rendering we were using is only a miniscule part of the universe. Feel insignificant yet? … reaaally tiny …

This is our third day in the Theatre, and it’s mostly going for coffee down the lane at this record shop run, I think by a rather nice French guy who makes tasty Chai Lattes and we sit outside and talk, then later sit on the floor of the Theatre and talk, and occasionally get up, put on some unfashionable 3-D glasses, they remind me of something Michael J. Fox would wear in Back to the Future, turn on the camera, play some Sunn0))) and do things that look mostly unlike dance.

I was watching some of the video tonight, cutting bits to learn tomorrow when we go into the studio, and was surprised by how much Bonnie and Lina’s movement changed in the last three days as I kept making their brains hurt with over-elaborate descriptions of various improvisational operations, and how this was slightly different from this other even though they look the same (making it up as I go along, I suppose).

It perhaps is coalescing into four, I guess to call, parts, or attributes. The first is a series of small phrases that come directly from these sessions in the VR-Lab. The second is a literal and/or incomprehensible reading of various papers, data, texts that either the visualisations we are using came from, or are completely separate. The third has something to do with the equations in the papers, I’m not sure what yet, and the fourth is a human response to each other.

Only the first is really choreographed, kind of like ‘initial conditions’, that will evolve once things get going. Everything else is, through a process of rigorously defining rules and procedures and stuff, … I really don’t like the word improvisation, it unfortunately implies in dance a certain laziness and flailing around without any purpose or method. I might say instead making it up as we go along.

Lots to talk about and read in the next week. I seem to be leaving home at 8 and getting home … at the other 8. Here’s the pictures. The text is there to make it look all sci-fi and futuristic, as if it needs any help.