July 11th, 2008

Here are some of animations I developed over the last couple of months. They make use of various (dead) creatures, found natural artefacts and footage I collected. I also redeployed tools, equipment and materials to furnish the sets. To diversify the ‘collection’ and fill the ‘cabinents’, I created cyanotypes of plants, rocks and various paraphenalia. I am continuing to find objects to furnish the shelves and drawers of the ‘cabinet’.

[click on the image to play video]

The possum skull here was found at Waychinnicup Nature Reserve in South-eastern coast of Western Australia. The skull was nestled with the broken down granite rocks along the beach, very much intact (as you can see). There are a number of types of possums in the region including ringtail, bushtail and pygmy. The reserve is amongst one of the most bio-diverse in the world.


[click on the image to play video]

Depicted here is a South Boobook owl. I was able to capture it on video (too dark for film) while night-spotting at Waychinnicup. It was a young owl and it was mesmerised by our lights. I printed out the video frames of the video footage and made these into a roll of paper film. When animating, I moved the paper film up by one picture every two frames. When played back in the animation, it appears that the owl is moving in the frames. In this animation, the owl is interacting with a monocular (like a binocular but with only one lens). Who is observing who?


[click on the image to play video]

This animation features a number of things collected on the beach in the Illawara (South Eastern coast of Australia). The coast is wedged between the Illawara Escarpment and the Tasman Sea. Geologically, the region is rich in black coal. The Escarpment has layers of sandstone, claystone, shales laced with coal seams. It is said to be Permian to Triassic in age and fossils can be found along the coasts. Since I am yet to discover any, I used some cyanotypes I made of seaweeds imitating impressions of fossils (although seaweeds probably won’t fossilised). The star of the collection here is what remains of a blue-bottle jellyfish (aka Portuguese Man o War). Their tenacles can sting badly. A lot of these are swept up onto the beach periodically and littered on the sand.


[click on the image to play video]

By now, the manfiying glass ‘robot’ has developed into a major character in these animations. He is a rather troublesome naturalist here, bottling up everything he sees. I have started to explore making fake insects for the animations (the bee here). I have successfully created a butterfly in flight elsewhere (shot from above). I am yet to attempt simulating the complex flight of a dragonfly. I have problems finding a suitable stand for my fake insects.


[click on the image to play video]

I started another strand of animations that use natural history illustrations as a basis. I looked at works by a number of renowned natural historians and illustrators; I find the works of Mark Catesby and Maria Sibylla Merian particularly interesting. Their depiction of the interactions occuring within the systems (e.g. insects and plants) offer a lot of possibilities for animation. I intend to produce more experiments that references particular works.

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