Fluid Sculpture is a winner of the Vimeo Capture Award.
Fluid Sculpture is a winner of the Vimeo Capture Award.
On September 11, 2001, I sat with my mother as she lay dying in a nursing home near Melbourne. Her room was empty of other people. It seemed the whole world was watching TV broadcasts of the planes that crashed into the Twin Towers in New York.
I drew the contours of Mum’s face as she gazed into my eyes and at a photo (beside me) of her other daughter Nadya. Mum’s eyes seemed full of sadness and fear. As I drew, I told her that I would keep an eye on Nadya, who had lived in and out of psychiatric institutions all her life. I asked her to let go of her fears because she had done everything she could do.
Mum had lost the ability to speak about 7 years before this day. All I could read were her eyes and the contours of her face. I drew as a way of holding onto as making some sense of this moment. Drawing and talking seemed to hold us together as she passed from life to death, into the great unknown. I remember the soft lines of the drawing (now somewhere in Tasmania) as ethereal and ‘other worldly’. I remember the simple lines that gently curve inwards as parts of an infinite spiral.
The following year, this moment with Mum resurfaced in Antarctica. This happened as I drew the first iceberg I saw from the ship as we neared the white continent. I later wrote:
Body memories of drawing my mother were recognised through the gestures I made to draw the ice. Perhaps this icy environment evokes a primal sense of mortality.
These memories of first seeing an ice berg helped me to empathise with other people who struggle with words to describe deeply felt personal experiences. It made it easy for me to understand how Antarctic ice may appear to have a life of its own. We may only be able to speak of the surface of ideas and feelings that we see in the ice. Something more primal was felt within the ice.
A recent post in Claire Beynon’s blog, The sea offers up orange deepens my knowledge that we can share expressions of connection to the world when we recognise primal forms within it. Expressions of connection to these forms can connect us to each other and to our environment at a profound level.
Here, Claire’s modes of expression are words and photographs, which reflect her experience on a beach in Dunedin and the connections she feels with the recent earthquake in nearby Christchurch (in New Zealand). Like the connection that I made, between my mother and the ice, the connections that Claire makes defy logic. However, her words and images communicate (to me and others who have commented on her site) empathic connections between all the great forces that shape our world (including us).
Primal forms (like the circle, spiral and cross) can awaken ’sublime’ feelings of connection to the great and unknown forces that shape the natural world (including melting icebergs, erupting earthquakes, and every living entity transforming into death).
The link above leads to the animation sustainability presented in movie format (.avi).
The animation is set to the voice of the environmental scientist Mark Diesendorf.
In the animation, Mark explains that:
* 100% renewable energy is possible in Australia right now.
* We have the technology but government action is needed in order achieve this.
* Australia is well placed to develop a clean and sustainable power industry.
You are free to include this file in your website for not-for-profit use.
Contact me at email@example.com to arrange delivery via Yousendit.
The animation is available as an .avi (40.3 MB) and .swf (3.0 MB).
Last month I saw these krill at the Australian Antarctic Division’s krill nursery in Tasmania.
In his animation, Endangered Species, Tony White presents a puppet to represent ‘Everyman’ (White 2006, p.400). The puppet is animated as if manipulated by strings.
By contrast, in her video installation, Endangered Species (2006), choreographer, Shiobhan Davies, represents humanity as a body manipulating flexible rods. Movement of the rods reveals internal lines of force (energy):
Davies represents humanity as endangered. Housed in a museum vitrine (display case), her video installation archives a singularly powerful statement.
I use animation to represent humanity as energy systems.
Animations made to represent human vitality are being combined with visualisations of sustainable energy systems (powered by water, wind, and geothermal and solar heat).
The aim is to make empathic kinesthetic (bodily) connections between human and other systems of energy.
I have made many drawings of people, such as this one of a girl with a hoop, and am now combining using animation to express collective human energy:
The first animation towards a new project, ‘Animated Energies’, is Sustainability. This is set to a sound recording I made of the environmental scientist Mark Diesendorf when he spoke at a recent CAN (Climate Action Newtown) event.
The animation includes drawings that I made at the last National Folk Festival (Canberra). I drew people who I saw as energetic, with lines to reflect their vitality. The lines represent an ever-changing human form.
But do these lines best reflect Mark’s message, to talk to ‘every person we can’ about renewable energy?
Yesterday I showed the animation to two people. One (another artist) identified strongly with the lines. The other (not an artist) thought the figures were ‘weird’. Only after hearing the negative response did I recognise that I had drawn people who I had found ‘interesting’ (as well as energetic) and that may be seen as very different from the norm.
I also recognised that my style of drawing reflects my experience as a dancer. This does not reflect everyone’s experience of their body.
For my animated Everyman to appeal to ‘every person’, I need to make some changes. But I do not want to compromise the vitality of the work.
I will include more drawings that represent a wider range of people (drawn in city streets for example). Together with the folk festival drawings, these lines may better represent ‘Everyman’.
I had considered the idea of taking photographs of people and making tonal drop-out forms from these. But I don’t see people as static cut-out shapes. I see them as systems of flowing energy. This perception of people may seem weird to some people. However, as the philosopher Rob Siedel said (in con. 2008), ‘There is only one way of seeing the world: your way.’
There is clearly no one way to represent people that will be recognised by everyone. Nevertheless, perceptions can be expanded. My way of seeing people is now expanded by seeing the sense in another point of view.
On the commons, http://www.onthecommons.org/, advocates a commons-based society.
The commons are the things we share: ‘air, water, public space, public health, public services, the Internet, cultural endowments and much more.’
I receive an email from a friend about a project that may tour a collection of tiny icons.
A whale practices bubble feeding. It swims to create a circle of bubbles that trap small creatures such as Antarctic krill. The circle signifies connections between creatures and the environment that sustains them. Here a whale feeds on iron-rich krill. I am using this blog to document and display animations that describe sustainable living practices.
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