"Air (an opera for breath)" is a short experimental animated opera film. There is no libretto in the opera, only breath rushing in and out of the mouth in a variety of rhythmic pulses and expressions. Air (the English translation of the operatic "aria") is the substance of this breath, which informs a rich spiritual history across many cultures and practices. The opera is animated and performed by the rising and falling of loaves of bread dough. The loaves expand and deflate like lungs. Tiny civilizations of yeast performers rise and fall as this movement is enacted. Their process of fermentation becomes a form of collective transformation. The fleshy dough encounters a series of obstacles to its progress and finds various ways to overcome these restraints as it reaches beyond itself. Inspired by Baroque opera staging, Victorian monodrama, and contemporary design, "Air (an opera for breath)" explores the corporeal body through the air that passes through it.
On the night of the first Super Moon of 2014 on the beach at Toleak Point in the Olympic National Park, I exposed about 7 feet of 7363 (hi-con Kodak 16mm film) by moonlight, creating the original negative on the left. The strip on the right is a positive contact print made in the studio shortly thereafter. Both were hand processed and bear the marks and scratches of their making. The moonlight struck the film at a sharp angle causing grains of sand to cast shadows. The contact print enhanced the contrast of these. The 16mm strips are intended to be projected side by side as loops at 18fps.
About 7 feet of Kodak 7363 sprinkled with fine white sand, exposed and hand-processed, then daubed with iridescent glitter nail polish. I project the original 16mm loop at 18 fps, so duration is about 14 seconds. This digitized version I slowed down in After Effects, rendering it out using the dissolve frame blending effect. The translucent, irregular grains of sand contrast with the manufactured, regular plastic flakes of glitter.