May 11, 2010

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).