Autogen (or EE for EMERGENCY ENTERTAINMENT!) is a feature-length animation comprised of ~7000 images generated using Craiyon.com. It tells the story of a machine hallucinating human consciousness and the development of civilization. The soundtrack is a collage of various Librivox.org recordings, original electronic music, machine generated loops, Bach being digitally mangled, and archival/found sounds.
Various timestamps in this video were linked to using QR codes in the 4D transmedia collage exhibit "I'm So Bored I'm Not Gonna Take it Anymore" at Duke University, and it is part of my MFA thesis project, a constellation of transient public art interventions called EMERGENCY ENTERTAINMENT!
This piece started with a very low, deep steamroller sound I recorded from a rooftop. When pitched up, the timbre sounded like an exotic instrument. I used that to create a melody to a simple chord progression, synthesized to be reminiscent of ocean waves. From there, I added a sampled-and-chopped beat with heavy filtration so it almost sounds like splashing, a "lead" synthesizer part, and a secondary beat with a drum machine.
Using the music as a foundation, I made the video with found objects. I juxtapose jittery stop-motion with extremely smooth slow-motion and time-lapse videography, resulting in dreamlike composite images that encapsulate the disparate elements of the piece within a cohesive cinematic space. I am interested in suggesting relationships between objects that are symbolically-charged, yet open to interpretation, and arranging them over time that feels "storylike" in that it has narrative elements like setup and climax, but without an effable plot.
In 2015, this bus shelter was removed from its location across the street from the Wisconsin State Capitol building in downtown Madison because the gang of affluent snobs that run the streets didn't like seeing homeless people using it as a place to sleep or, well, exist.
A while later, I found it sitting by some kind of municipal warehouse while I was walking in a wooded area between Glenway Golf Course, Forest Hill Cemetery, and Madison's commuter path. The sight of this big hunk of urban infrastructure drained of all of its utility struck me as ridiculous, and its odd location stirred my curiosity. It's located yards from several Ho-Chunk effigy mounds, including waterspirit mounds, linear mounds, and a goose mound that was decapitated to build a railway. There is something that shakes me about the fact that this structure once had another life, where I knew it and took it for granted as something fully integrated with my everyday experience (it used to be the stop I took to get to college). At its new location it was difficult not to see it as an emblem of displacement, disturbance, and domination.
To transform this space from a place of abandonment and death into one of remembrance and growth, I painted several pictures to honor and acknowledge the history and power of the land. In addition, I offered items that drifted into the ravine beside the bus shelter from graves, as well as my song and creative presence.
The bodycam footage comes from the evening of May 30th, 2022, when I put the pictures up in the bus stop. This was an auspicious date for many personal reasons, but also because it was a new moon, the night of the biggest meteor shower ever recorded, and Memorial Day.
The sandbox animation part of the video was recorded in Saranac, Michigan with Tabitha Gibbs (https://www.instagram.com/mnemonal/), who has helped inspire and support this project.
This is a music video for one of my songs. It's mostly stop-motion collage animation, but it incorporates some video footage and is supplemented by some very basic 2D computer animation done in Premiere to approximate the collage style.