SciArt Magazine - All Issues - Page 22

JB: Rather than filming natural phenomena, in your current “Morphologies” series, you are creating what you call video-based life forms. From orifices to organs and trilobites to starfish, these creatures take on a life of their own as they pulsate and travel in their virtual world. Can you talk a bit about this project, how it started, and where it’s going? are hundreds of these morphologies that don’t survive past the developmental stages and will never go beyond the software’s timeline. The subject matter of the recorded video files typically forms a conceptual foundation that I build upon. While the finished image may have no obvious visual correlation to the original material, the image has in its digital PH: Often when I’m creatively stuck or need a change in creative direction I will take a video clip and begin manipulating it in the computer. It’s an action much like sketching or even doodling, a technique that allows me to explore at an unconscious level. Often the results are abstractions of ideas that I’m working through, processed in a new way. As I was digitally manipulating some of my raw video files, the abstract images began to manifest in a way that reminded me of organic creatures, small to microscopic in nature, but blown up large as if being observed and studied. Once I was able to key in on this idea, I began to manipulate the video imagery with specificity in mind, and the project took off. As these ideas solidify, the video’s manipulation becomes more complex and involved. This manipulation is much like genetic modification. I enter into the material at the most basic level—in my case, the pixel— and through manipulation, transform and alter the original data to create something new. This manipulation and shaping is done through the layering of filters on selected DNA trace video clips and precisely animating elements of Untitled - video still, “Threshold Series” (2013 – the filters’ parameters over time to its ancestral construct the new imagery and bring present). Dimensions variable. High definition. beginnings, the digital organisms to life. Each which provides more complex meaning in the piece’s outcome is realized through countfinal work. The specimens that I am working less evolutionary steps in the modification process. While I could use three-dimensional on right now all come from video that I shot of Lake Erie. animation for the morphologies, I prefer the limits of the video medium. This project This series is developing in two parallel has been more about the act of modification than creation. I can minutely adjust a specific mediums right now. The videos of the morparameter of one specific effect,, and a com- phologies will be displayed in small wooden pletely new and unexpected shape is formed. cabinets that I am designing and constructOften, these don’t advance the design. There ing. These cabinets will reference historical 22 SciArt in America April 2015