Mesocosm Prints (in progress)

I am working on large format archival prints this summer/fall from the behemoth formerly known as The Friend Feeder, now to be titled Mesocosm (Northumberland). Thanks Timothy Morton for introducing me to the term.  Morton, ‘dark ecologist’ looking at literature, ambient poetics, ecocriticism (and more),  authored two  texts I find really clarifying and expansive: the book  Ecology without Nature , and an amazing essay, Queer Ecology. He also keeps two blogs:

Ecology Without Nature
The Contemporary Condition

Mesocosm (Northumebrland), Winter Night 1

Mesocosm (Northumebrland), Summer Day 1
Mesocosm (Northumberland), Winter Night 1 and Summer Day 1

The Friend Feeder

I’m ready enough to post this work in progress of a new animation project, The Friend Feeder.

The Friend Feeder is based on the figure of Leigh Bowery from a painting by Lucien Freud. He’s a sort of ür British green man, watching out over the moors of Northumberland.

Using a probability system, non-linear animated sprites  come and go from the stage. Ultimately, all four seasons will unfold over a 146 hour long cycle.

If you click on the link, a file will load that shows summer only –  disregard the time stamp at the top of the frame. It begins at midnight.

It’s still fairly buggy – but it’s running. There are day animals and night animals, and some weather input at the moment. The man is stationary, until I film reference footage of the inimitable Lawrence Goldhüber this week.

Picture 1

Here’s some information on the project:

While a Resident artist at Eyebeam Art + Technology in New York this fall, I began developing a non-linear animation system with software artist Jeff Crouse; we are almost finished building the shell of a Flash ActionScript based system that will allow me direct input of animation components.

Actually, we started on this in 2008 as an OpenFrameworks project. But after a year or so, realized it was too much like emulating Flash. So heeeere we are.

In this first incarnation of the work, I am building a very long animated cycle that represents one year of real time: animated objects are placed on a stage, and code determines the frequency and order of their appearance. No cycle is identical to the last, because the appearance of characters and seasonal weather are based on probability. One year of narrative time is condensed into a 146-hour cycle:
1 real-time hour : 1 animation minute
1 day : 24 minutes
1 season : 36.5hours
1 year : 146 animation hours
Seasons unfold, snows fall, days pass and moons rise, animals come and go. We do not know if the man in the garden is alive or some kind of magical food: he sits naked, day in and day out, and offers his body as nourishment to the garden feeders. Fog, vehicles, mythical nature pass through and have various interactions on stage, sometimes absurdly (like the 1% chance that a flock of Fairies will pass through on a Midsummer night).

petrified faerie

From The Times Online, 2005.
What appears to be the mummified remains of a fairy have been discovered in the Derbyshire countryside… The remains were discovered by a local man, who wishes to remain anonymous, while walking his dog along an old Roman road situated between the villages of Duffield and Belper…The remains, complete with wings, skin, teeth and flowing red hair have been examined by anthropologists and forensic experts who can confirm that the body is genuine. (via Neatorama)

Marcus Salter, head of Genesis Properties, estimates that the small colony of fairies believed to live beneath a rock in St Fillans, Perthshire, has cost him £15,000. His first notice of the residential sensibilities of the netherworld came as his diggers moved on to a site on the outskirts of the village, which crowns the easterly shore of Loch Earn. He said: “A neighbour came over shouting, ‘Don’t move that rock. You’ll kill the fairies’.” The rock protruded from the centre of a gently shelving field, edged by the steep slopes of Dundurn mountain, where in the sixth century the Celtic missionary St Fillan set up camp and attempted to convert the Picts from the pagan darkness of superstition.

Project proposals for Northumberland

The Red Squirrel of Britain (Sciurus vulgaris)
The Red Squirrel of Britain (Sciurus vulgaris)

Here are one-sheet descriptions of the proposals I made for Northumberland, that came out of my research residency in June 2009 at ISIS Arts in Newcastle.

There are three proposals:  a street food cart serving invasive species; a garden feeder in human form; and an animated diptych. In addition, I have proposed a banquet of edible invasive species set on the high moors, pleine aire, in reformation style.


Animation test clips:

test swf excerpt from Friends + Enemies

a rap version of Wordsworth

I’ve been meaning to post this – I think maybe I was initially horrified but my standards are slipping.

was inspired to write Daffodils by the glorious flowers on the shores of Ullswater in the Lake District.

A Cumbria Tourism spokesman said: “Wordsworth’s Daffodils poem has remained unchanged for 200 years and to keep it alive for another two centuries we wanted to engage the YouTube generation who want modern music and amusing video footage on the web.

“Hopefully this will give them a reason to connect with a poem published in 1807 as well as with the works of Wordsworth and the stunning landscape of the Lake District. It’s all a bit of fun really.”

David Wilson of the Wordsworth Trust, said: “Wordsworth’s poem is about the mind’s growing awareness over time of the deepening value of an experience, in this case observing the dancing daffodils.

It is awful– so UK peeps, you’ve lost it.  Forget all you squirrel purists: