suckerPUNCH: describe your project.
A digital dance performance exploring the eternal struggle of good and evil, for Stateless‘ latest single Ariel released on Ninja Tune. For the official music video, we animated the two opponent characters of the song as surreal human figures, drawing dynamic sculptures into space.
For their new album Matilda the band was looking for an experimental visual world to reflect their very imaginative songs all around mystical characters. They liked the mood of our previous works like Interim Camp (http://www.field.io/project/interim-camp) and Muse (http://www.field.io/project/muse), and basically gave us a carte blanche brief to create the video for ‘Ariel’ and the album and single covers with any process we were excited about.
We had been wanting to experiment with dance and motion capture technology for a while yet, and the story of the song and this characteristic dancelike gypsy sample was just the right backdrop for this.
We recorded an improvised dance interpretation of the song in a motion capture studio, and experimented with using the movement as an input for the abstract elements of the visuals. We attached dynamic curves to the joints which extend with the motion and draw animated sculptures into the space. The dance motion is lending its liveliness to an abstract surface, creating a kind of surreal connection of human body and abstract sculpture.
sP: what or who influenced this project?
FIELD: The collaboration with professional dancer Dominic North was a great starting point for our creative process. He is a very versatile performer and a great improviser, so rather than working out a fixed choreography, we talked about how we characterise Ariel and the Devil, the two characters of the song, and he translated it into motion mostly spontaneously.
It was a deliberate decision to ask one performer to impersonate both the female and male characters, because we liked the idea of this “struggle of good and evil” to happen within the mind of one person. It’s really a play with opposites and contrastive forces.
Oscar & Ewan (oscarandewan.co.uk), who have done some great design work for Ninja Tune in the past, got us in touch with the guys from Stateless. They worked on the typography for the records and accompanied our process for the video.
sP: what were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
FIELD: Besides the single we’ve been listening to the album Matilda a lot while working on the animation. The album has a strong mood, and the oppositions of good and evil, male and female, attraction and fear, reappear in different forms, so this definitely set the background for our work.
In terms of inspiration, we looked at futurist art from the early 20th century, as well as contemporary sculpture work and experimental fashion design, as references for capturing human motion in abstract shapes.
sP: whose work is currently on your radar?
FIELD: creativeapplications.net is a great resource for all forms of software generated visuals etc.
Browse Marcus’ list on twitter for more interesting folks http://twitter.com/#!/marcuswendt/generate-interact // @marcuswendt/generate-interact
In our blog at http://www.field.io/process we gather visuals from art, design and science that inspire us.
More info and stills from the video: http://www.field.io/project/stateless-ariel
The Making-of: ttp://www.vimeo.com/16619572h
Our cover artwork for the album Matilda: http://www.field.io/project/stateless-matilda