At the beginning of the pandemic isolation I put together a short looping animation called cenotaph. The concept was an empty cube filled with ‘projections’ of short animations I’d been making in the iPad application Looom. The projections would seem to pass through the boundaries of the cube at times. I generated a subtitle track algorithmically using the python library Markovify and a corpus of writing losely around the themes of interiority/exteriority and imaginary architecture (Like Boullee’s Cenotaph for Newton]. In some ways it was the one-person, no budget, isolation version of Shapes and Other Shapes- an imaginary space narrated through a non-deterministic text.
I’d like to make another imaginary space to host a performance. I’m interested in using VR motion capture using Glycon3D to record myself reading another generated text, recorded in a 360 degree or 3d movie made in after effects, that can be played back in VR or in a standard format on a web page. This could become a working process for making VR-enabled movies of a character in a space that could be used in my Grotto project or could exist on their own. I’t might be interesting to mix-in early FMV game aesthetics like Commander Blood/Big Bug Bang, i.e. not an attempt at realism, or even continuity between phrases (The performance could be chopped up and rearranged randomly just as the text itself might be generated or randomized). My worry with fixating on an aesthetic this early is that it’s not something I’ve arrived at organically through work, so it could be a flimsy association. I’ll bookmark it here for now and if it remains relevant I’ll document the reasoning. This project could be done as an actual interactive unity game, but I’d prefer to keep it simple here and make a video.
An unaddressed concern from the first experiment- a cenotaph is a tomb, as for a missing body. Who was the cenotaph for? Who is this new cenotaph for? This will be an opportunity to have an animated death mask eulogize itself, as in Susan Silas’ Eulogy. So, in this imaginary space, who do I want to commemorate but lay to rest? How does this relate to the fact that real life cenotaphs are almost always for the war dead? Building a virtual cenotaph to real dead immediately puts a damper on my willingness to experiment or use any but the most solemn aesthetics, so that dissuades me from building for a real individual, but maybe for an obsfucated collection of individuals.