This ‘ME’ of Mine Exhibition Blog and Twitter

February 03 2012//

One of my large format digital prints ‘The Bigger Picture’ has been selected for a really interesting future group exhibition entitled ‘This ‘Me’ of Mine’ curated by artist and writer Jane Boyer.

‘Myself’ is a loaded pronoun, it is a pronoun which is grammatically suggestive of a self reflected back on itself through actions or thoughts.  It represents my person as I sit here writing this, my past which has brought me here where I sit and write, and the potential of what may happen next.  It is a multiplicity of selves, changed and influenced by time, experience and encounters all woven together in the weave of a fabric called ‘me’.  Yet there are two sides to a piece of fabric, just as there are two sides to me: my interior self and my exterior self.

Jane Boyer

Click here to view This ‘Me’ of Mine exhibition blog

Follow ‘Me’ of Mine Twitter account

Participating artists include: Aly Helyer, David Riley, David Minton, Annabel Dover, Sarah Hervey, Anthony Boswell, Kate Murdoch, Cathy Lomax,   Melanie Titmuss, Edd Pearman,  Sandra Crisp, Julie Cockburn, Shireen Quershi, Jane Boyer.

InShort Film Festival at the Lexi Cinema

November 22 2011//

My film Mapping London’s Subterranean Rivers will be installed on loop in the Lexi Cinema foyer as part of In Short film festival – A digital festival showcasing local short films and soundscapes November 20th: From 2pm to 5pm. I went along to view the selected entries for this local festival open to both amateur and professional filmmakers…..

Large comfortable armchairs  await visitors to the  Lexi Cinema in Kensal Rise North London. Personal touches such as the retro standard lamp to illuminate speakers introducing the festival line-up make this boutique cinema unique in character, the tiny bar served a tea and home made cakes in the interval.

A great line up of 15 films from diverse genres created by both amateur and professional filmmakers made for a really entertaining couple of hours viewing including abstract animation, social documentary and comedy to name a few.  The jury voted 2 films into joint first place; ‘Forgotten Carers’ by Matthew Wolpert –  An hilarious take on the single life of a man left by his girlfriend for being too high maintenance.

‘The Dog Smells You’  (James Wright) a contemporary, haunting & ambiguous journey using continually shifting colour,  filters and textures –  filmed in one day using an i-phone. The audience prize went to (Island) ‘Murmuration’ by Sophie Windsor Clive.  My personal favorites for InShort festival include; Constantine Gras’  Bound for Glory ‘A poignant docudrama about a woman who stitches together memories of her West Indian mother.

The Money Shot – a film by Graham Rathlin:  ‘An ebayer discovers his new camera has magical qualities that could make hime extremely rich’ …with a twist at the end! And finally, 2 young filmakers Marco Pini & Daniel Lubin presented Day 56 a film shot in Wales imaging a world where there are suddenly no people. The judges were; Jack Arbuthnot, Joanna Hogg, Martina Amati and Tora Young, the winning films will be screened before the main program each day at the Lexi during the forthcoming week.

Lexi Cinema

www.thelexicinema.co.uk/

194b Chamberlayne Road
Kensal Rise
London
NW10 3JU

TRAIN – Kensal Rise (Overground) – 3mins
TUBE – Kensal Green (Bakerloo) – 10mins
Queens Park (Bakerloo) – 15mins
BUS – 52, 6, 187, 302

‘Mapping London’s Subterranean Rivers’ Wire-Frame Screen Grabs

November 15 2011//

This post looks at some of the process involved in making my recent videoMapping London’s Subterranean Rivers including a few wireframe screen-grabs from the work  which  illustrate how work- in-progress appears within the open software window when work is in-progress.

The video was created using Maya Autodesk which is a 3D animation program offering extensive tools for modelling, dynamics, visual effects and rendering.

I found this software quite difficult to grasp initially, as the interface and layout is very different to regular video editing software. Maya does contain an animation timeline but most other features seemed almost like learning a new language, very different. I finally discovered a small corner of the program where I could operate creatively and develop ideas, and experiment.

The main difference between Maya and 2D animation or video editing software is that the artist can construct 3D objects in virtual space in Maya. Once models have been created and
placed on the ‘stage’ multiple cameras are set up to film the  3D object from as many different viewpoints or angles as desired.

For this video, only 1 3D map elevation was ‘drawn’ in Maya and various cameras (coloured in green)  positioned around it to record and create different viewpoints/ scenes within the video.

(Above) Wireframe scene in Maya showing a section of the 3D map created for Mapping London’s Subterranean Rivers.  This is an aerial view showing the City, river Thames and various subterranean rivers and overground
ancient tributaries.

Using wireframe views of the scenes in Maya enables more rapid rendering, editing, rotating and viewing of the scene in real time. Maya takes up a lot of processing power and RAM and this viewing mode means that work can be speeded up a little. The drawback is that it is rather like working in the dark as colour, texture etc is not visible while you are working.

To view full texturing and colour whilst working in Maya, frames need to be rendered individually. I find doing this now and again is enough to retain in memory exactly what the scene looks like and how it will appear later after the final rendered sequence for video is created.

This kind of view shows a little more detail when working within the software window than is available in wireframe mode – Some solid areas are displayed to highlight more of the model’s detail.
This aerial view is used right at the start of the video when the camera begins to descend onto the map.

Near the centre of the map can be seen a yellow textured object which is a 3D model tree, later assigned a ‘wind dynamic’ so it appears to be swaying quite strongly in a gust of strong wind. Many other dynamics are available in Maya to simulate gravity and movement iof water or ocean waves, for example. Used a flowing water dynamic to simulate the River Thames in the final work.

The red cone-shape to the left and solid grey cube-like objects positioned bottom-left on the map, depict the placement of lighting object (spotlight) and architectural buildings respectively.

Aerial view showing the King’s Scholars’ Pond Sewer (KSPS) – near bottom centre of the image
Highgate hill (blue wire frame object) and the Thames to the left (Wiggling, thicker, solid white line object)
Side view showing cameras, tree & 3D signage depicting London place names
Another aerial wireframe view
 The cluster of bright pink, solid shapes are tower block buildings in the video.

It is not possible to see fully-detailed, textured image sequences until frames are fully rendered and exported from Maya, either directly into Quick Time. Or as a series of TARGA (individual images, 24 or 25 frames per second of footage) files which can then be imported into video editing software such as After Effects to create a moving image sequence.

AS previously mentioned, a quick and dirty view of any individual frame can be viewed (very slowly) live within Maya by using the IPR renderer, but testing out a full animated sequence is beyond the processing power of my rather humble PC.

However, I do enjoy working somewhat in the dark with this process as it allows for certain unexpected results that would not be possible otherwise. A certain Serendipity…

This is a composite map that I created from 2 different maps. Showing the Thames and various tributaries, many of which are now underground or completely lost. It formed the template to create the 3D map in the film.
Please see previous post for more information about this map…

Click here to view Mapping London’s Subterranean Rivers


London Map and Subterranean Rivers

November 04 2011//

 I’ve uploaded here a composite map created as research for my video Mapping London’s Subterranean Rivers 2010 and described briefly how it was made and used within the work.


(Above) Composite map based upon ‘Tributaries of the Thames from Kingston to Erith‘ from Nicholas Barton’s well known book entitled The Lost Rivers of London.

The underground rivers are marked in blue and the ancient or lost overground waterways appear in orange.
The various rivers on the composite map formed a template to (fairly) accurately place the underground rivers onto the 3d map within the animation program to create the video
Mapping London’s Subterranean Rivers

I digitally overlaid the map ‘Tributaries of the Thames from Kingston to Erith‘ onto another more contemporary map of  Greater London that shows the borough boundaries and depicts the distinctive outline shape of Greater London.

In doing so, I noticed that the shape of London resembled an island cut adrift. This is not intended to be a super accurate map, more a poetic interpretation.

This island-like form inspired the 3d model elevation of London in the video, depicting London as cutout sculptural form suspended in empty virtual black space.