My work explores questions of narrative in animation and video within the context of fine art. I am interested in creating unconventionally delivered stories through an exploration of different styles of animation. Pinky’s Pleasure Park was created for Destination Nature, an exchange exhibition in Shanghai. The stop-motion film explores the relationship between natural and artificial and to what extent that can double as animate and inanimate. The process of creating the world of the film preceded the narrative as the materials (natural elements like moss, bark, stones, etc.) were the focal point of its conception. Hieronymus Bosch’s fantastical composite creatures and makeshift structures in The Garden of Earthly Delights, which one can perceive as being both “nature” and “design”, were a key influence for this piece. The film is about a group of characters who, by coming alive, destroy the world that they live in, and most die along with it; thus illustrating the futility of fictional existence. Co Hoedeman’s The Sand Castle and Jacques Drouin’s Midscape were a reference for the tension between nature and design doubling as animate and inanimate. The textural uniformity of the characters and their world implies an interaction with the self, and questions why we see some elements as “alive”, but not others. The film aims to question what we perceive as alive: nature, by being repurposed as design, comes “alive” by dying; thus subverting boundaries by cyclising life and death, animate and inanimate, natural and artificial, human and inhuman, fictional and real.
I wanted to explore the idea of endless cycles and repetitiveness further in my next piece, Momentum Fault. Turning towards a more introspective exploration of narrative, this work embodied unsatisfying lack of change. I created five looping animations in the same rhythm centred visually around expansion and retraction, accompanied by a synchronised sound of breathing; visually referencing panic attack help videos which use the same kind of movement, but contrasting that with the subject matter: a self in a constant state of flux, continuously finding and losing itself. The use of flat, bright, basic colours against a black background and the jagged, imperfect lines are inspired by visual appearances of computer coding and old-school video games, where information is visually represented in a simplistic, unpolished way, covering the bare minimum needed to present text, image, or motion. Nam June Paik’s work was an important reference: the makeshift, dated aesthetic and the same video (for me, the same motion/concept) represented repeatedly on multiple screens. The use of this aesthetic intended to add to the repetitive, mechanised look of the looping movements, to make them seem pre-“programmed”, predetermined, and inevitable. The presentation of the piece induced a further sense of discomfort as the films and breathing slowly desynchronised, becoming rushed, lagging, off-beat. The combination of a visual language associated with technology and the representation of abstract, self-questioning topics such as the loss of the self intended to show the automatisation of an endless cycle of loss and discovery, of intimacy and isolation.
The forced intimacy of Momentum Fault led me onto exploring relationships and loss of self in an ironic supernatural context. Conyxol by MEDICULT explores representations of narrative by universalising alienating experiences; creating a mythological narrative and placing it as normative. Luigi Serafini’s Codex Seraphinianus thrusts its reader into this fantasy universe without introduction or warning, but while it is completely foreign there are eerie thematic, but misplaced similarities and references to our own mundane existence. Conyxol is a pharmaceutical product used by inter-dimensional couples who want to exist on the same plane. The user of Conyxol binds the essence of their partner to their body for 6 weeks, and their other half manifests in their dimension at the completion of the process. Barbara Kruger’s use of found trivial images and text which satirize the language of advertising was influential both in its semi-patronising tone and the rhetorical audience address. Another reference was Ed Atkins’s Tumour, which doubles its prophetic, biblical tone as promotional, something I was interested in exploring through the combination of medicine, occultism, advertising and science fiction.The style of the video satirizes the language of advertising while also using it to double as a symbol for contemporary society and public understanding of science and medicine, which is contrasted with the use of alchemical imagery and underlying themes of occultism, associating them with past understanding of these subjects. Conyxol may be a product from a fictional universe but for me it relates to our limited, rigidly categorized, normative understanding of the world and its possibilities.