Moving image experimental multi-media project with developed animation in Aftereffects and 3D software to create models and visuals. The idea was developed throughout the first quarantine of the global pandemic, where a chaotic state in one location created a chaotic state in others. Film depicts chaos theory and the butterfly effect and how growth can emerge from chaos and destruction, with reference to theories by James Gleick and Edward Lorenz . Concept development included research into Surrealist and Dada movements, Escapist art as well as new modes of digital exhibition spaces combining virutal reality with the physical. The format of the video aims to be exhibited in an immersive online platform, referencing a triptych art practise. “We may regard present state of the universe as the effect of its past and the cause of its future.” - video aims to showcase a linear relation between the beginning of the process of chaos and its subsequent ending producing chaos elsewhere.

Upon reflection, the creative process and journey this project took me on was rewarding and very innovative for me. Throughout the process and workflow, I was determined to learn a series of new skills that would enable me to create the outcome which I had set out to do - I took up learning the basics of aftereffects animation and experimented more with mixed media collage as well as 3D scanning, which I was always interested in in terms of visual language, but I never quite got around to properly exploring. As well as that, the process by which I came to the final outcome resulted in me using resources around me and available to me - this I actually found to be the most valuable and it really pushed me in terms of creative boundaries and acquiring new skills, which I would have otherwise not implemented when it comes to the usual creative process in creating my projects. Despite the production itself being quite simple, I realised this simplicity in terms of transmitting meaning through symbolism and emotions rather than tangible objects actually worked for me well and forced me to do a much more in depth research than I usually would have done.
The topic itself, Growth from chaos, was already initially appealing, however I wasn’t sure how to properly tackle it at the start. Creating mindmaps and doing research into artists working in isolation and the work produced by them expanded my view and allowed me to think more creatively about my surroundings and what the topic meant for me personally. I initially thought about making a work closely related to the subconscious experiences, which were heightened for me and those around me during isolation. I started my investigation with the philosophy of dreams and art exploring the subconscious (particularly surrealism and dadaism) and initially thought of making a 3D sensorial universe of dreams compiled through my time in isolation. The research however then took me onto a different path - I started investigating the process of chaos itself and the chaos theory, which I found extremely intriguing and mysterious in terms of the philosophical approach. I therefore then decided to create a sensorial art composition detailing the process of how the butterfly effect (a theory which I’ve encountered upon during my research into chaos theory) continually causes chaos with various consequences and how one small movement can cause a larger metamorphasis resulting in both damage and growth.
I struggled at first in how to portray the butterfly effect and the stages of chaos themselves and therefore I decided to refer back to my research around dreams and subconscious for inspiration in terms of symbolism. Through this process, I wanted to have my final outcome a mixture of alluding to the chaos theory through senses and symbols which would evoke meanings and emotions in the audience - I wanted the chaos theory to be quite obviously seen in the composition, yet I wanted the symbols to create an abstract atmosphere, from which the audience could take a personal meaning and experience. The production itself therefore was simple in terms of the fact that I chose three main symbols which I wanted to refer to in terms of styling and creating initial visuals - flowers (growth and decay), light (movement showing both confusion and enlightenment brought by chaos) and vision (an eternal symbol in art and dreams meaning wisdom, all-knowingness and a form of subconscious surveillance). I then used my sister as a model and created these visuals mainly through the use of makeup and quite minimal styling. I intended for the photos I took of her as well as the moving image to serve as a sort of blank/initial canvas onto which I could layer animations and visuals through post production. As well as that, in my production process, I created interesting visuals through using different camera effects (fish eye lens through phone apps, long exposure effect experimentation and 3d scanning of face and objects e.g. flowers). Upon reflection, I wish I had experimented more with these methods as, despite creating a lot of the visuals in post production, the best visuals were created precisely through these experimentations. This made me think about how my creative process could change in the future and how the production itself in terms of light adjusting, colour experimentation and experimentation with 3D technologies serves as a strong basis for enabling a more creative post-production process as well.
The longest part (as well as the most rewarding part) of the process was definitely post-production as I was learning a new software, specifically aftereffects, and I had quite high ambitions in terms of animation. Through watching several tutorials and testing visuals and the effects available in Aftereffects, I managed to learn the basics which enabled me to create a sort of moving composition, often out of still images. I initially wanted the final outcome to be quite simplistic, however during the post production I realised I was much more interested in creating a very sensorial and in-depth experience for the audience and therefore I started experimenting with collage and mixed media in Illustrator and photoshop. This allowed me to create visuals onto which it was much more effective to layer the animations and I found that the final outcome had the sort of slight confusion atmosphere as well as distortion effect I wanted it to have - transmitting the feeling of confusion in chaos as well as its consequences (both positive and negative) effectively. In terms of editing the final composition itself - I wanted it to have a 3 part all moving structure. This part of the process was definitely the most challenging, as I struggled with cutting out visuals which were stimulating visually, however did not convey the symbolical meaning I wanted them to. As well as that, throughout the process I realised that if all of the 3 compositions within the whole were moving, it would become rather confusing for the audience and therefore I decided to make the middle one more simple and to only have it transmit this sense of metamorphasis rather than another stage of chaos itself. Looking back, it was also very challenging to properly grasp the chaos theory and visualise it in a way that would be constinuous in the triptych composition - at first, I especially found it hard to narrow down the process to the basics (as it is a very complex theory) and to not overwhelm the audience with unnecessary visuals either. I overcame this challenge by taking a break from the post-production and rereading articles as well as books such as James Gleick’s “Chaos” and pointing out the truly significant ideas informing the chaos theory, which I could then transform into concise visuals.
Similarly, the main issue for me was transmitting the meaning to the audience without being too obvious. I was especially wary of the composition being quite a cliche depiction of the butterfly effect and I wanted the symbolic meaning to overweigh the obvious. However, after my tutorial and upon reflection, I realised that ,especially when exhibiting digitally, there needs to be both an element of understanding and surprise - the audience needs to be intrigued by the composition but also needs to know what it is depicting in a digital context, for the work to be to a certain extent self-explanatory and at the same time immersive/stimulating. This played a large role for me in editing the work after the initial stages of post production.
Overall, this project (including the research process, production and especially post production) definitely broadened my horizons in terms of my creative practise and forced me to experiment with the resources available to me in ways in which I hadn’t previously necessarily thought of. It was at the same time very challenging, as I struggled not only within the post production, but also in narrowing down my ideas with which I initially felt very overwhelmed, given the situation as well. The process of creating within such a time gave me great motivation to be resourceful and creative and I especially felt inspired by the artists working from home, now and historically, refusing to give into the situation and instead, creating meaningful work. As well as that, this project was definitely much more personal to me than my previous projects as I channeled the feelings of uncertainty as well as confusion about the surrounding situation into my creative process and learning new skills/exploring mediums I always wished to explore yet perhaps wasn’t stimulated enough to. This personal tie to the work, I realised ,created a different work flow within me than previously and I will aim to create more personal and emotionally informed work in the future. As well as that, the whole unit and the project itself made me explore the future of digital spaces within the creative industry, which especially at this time, are becoming more and more dominant and perhaps form a more sustainable and approachable future of the industry.

Reflective Statement

Butterfly Effect

Butterfly Effect Still

Initial Investigation into the theme of Dreams and the Subconscious

Instagram questionnaire about dreams in isolation

Research Pages - surrealist art and concept development in relation to experimental techniques

Post Production

Production - 3D scanning, collage, illustration

Experimentation

Post Production - AfterEffects Butterfly Animation

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