7 November 2013

Preliminary ideas and sketches based on audio

As a starting point for the experimental animation we have chosen to use a track called 'Polaris' by the artist Hiddeminside (http://www.jamendo.com/es/track/837424/polaris-intro). We decided to do this because we were having difficulty getting the project off the ground and finding a mutual starting point. We do not intend to make a 'music video' but more to shape the animation around the pace of the music, without the intention to sell the music as such.

 The site Jamendo is a place for artists to post and share their music for use by others as long as this is on non-profit basis. We have also contacted the creator directly and requested permission to use the track, which he has granted as long as we provide a link to his work when uploading online.

Having listened to the track multiple time I began to gain a sense that the beginning and the end of the track are quite tragic, low beats, the centre of the track is incredibly upbeat and 'dancey'. I thought it could be possible that we could plan a cyclical narrative around a theory based on a cycle, such as 'the social cycle theory', these theories are based on history repeating itself. In this way we could not only experiment but also put across an idea or message in a non-linear format and evoke thought from the audience. Any manner of materials and techniques could be used to represent changes in society and changes in emotion. I also feel that colour will play an important part.

Below are photographs from some of my responses to the music from my sketchbook.


This was one of my first ideas for a character, this could be a character that starts as a simple android with no organic features such as eyebrows or hair, as the tone of the music changes to one of happiness the character could begin sprouting organic matter such as plants and flowers from a gap in the top of it's head. The gap in the head could be suggestive of a lack of substance in a machine world. The matter protruding from the head would not necessarily have to be 'real' and could instead be represented as if it were holographic. 

We could also use a mixture of materials and techniques to have different aspects arising from the characters head. Utilmately the character will become empty again as all living things must die, this is relevant to the music due to the sense of sadness created at the end. I like this idea, but feel it would be difficult to base an animation on it. It would probably be necessary to include more than one character to create interest. As our main prerogative is to experiment it may be wise to veer away from too much character animation. This being said I like the idea of having a character as this will allow me to improve my skills as well as providing a figure with which the audience can relate.


This idea sprung from the design drawn by Conor in which the character would be representative of me as a means of portraying personal aspects in the animation. I really like the idea of using a character or elements that are part machine and part organic but am not too sure about having a character based on myself.

In this page of my sketchbook I was trying to come to terms with the changes in the music and how this could be represented digitally. I particularly like the idea of basing the animation on a theme or theory that is depicted with abstract imagery.


 One of the ideas I am most hopeful about is this concept of having a faceless character with screens either embedded into the face or floating in-front of it in an abstract manner. This idea also relates to Conor's idea of having a glass screen on the characters face on which things can then be projected.

 This would allow us to experiment with all manner of materials to represent changes in the pace of the music. Some of the theories/ theme I am most interested in are as following:

Malthusian Catastrophe, this was originally the belief that society would eventually be forced into subsistence-level living because population growth would outpace agricultural production. The predictions made by the theory historically have not come in to place, however I felt that some aspects were still relevant to society today. 

Kondratiev Wave, supposedly cycle like phenomena in modern economy. The wave is based on periods of High and low sectoral growth.

Collapsing of civilisations, The theory that the development of societies occurs in circles that parallel the lives of individuals - Societies are born, mature, age and die.

Social Cycle Theory  - Sociological theory, argues that events and stages of society and history are generally repeating themselves in cycles. Such a theory does not imply that there can really be any social progress.
These were my least favourite character designs, I was attempting to design a character that would be able to create empathy whilst still presenting abstract qualities to its design. I didn't particularly like the most cartoony approach I achieved here.

 I was particularly keen on having the setting based in a kind of post-apocolyptic world and this was where I got the idea for the gas mask, I also came across a lot of images of reflections in the eyes of gas masks while researching. 

A basic story outline that I had in mind was to start with a featureless character, alone in a baron landscape (I would like the landscape to remain fairly representative, perhaps with large amounts of fog or particles suggestive of a civilisation that has been destroyed), as the character awakens and comes into contact with debris around him the memories of the objects that they once were are reflected on the screens/goggles. It is in this area that we will be able to experiment with materials, symbolism and various techniques. Ultimately the character will again become featureless as the memories cease to exist.

This could also be in reference to fabrication and the inner life of objects.

 Some very basic outlines that we could base the visuals on:


Overall I hope that this post will help to inform (Conor) of my thought process and together we will be able to elaborate on ideas and come with a rough plan next week so that we can begin experimenting.

Post by Jess