Forms is an ongoing collaboration between visuals artists Memo Akten and Quayola, a series of studies on human motion, and its reverberations through space and time. It is inspired by the works of Eadweard Muybridge, Harold Edgerton, Étienne-Jules Marey as well as similarly inspired modernist cubist works such as Marcel Duchamp’s “Nude Descending a Staircase No.2″. Rather than focusing on observable trajectories, it explores techniques of extrapolation to sculpt abstract forms, visualizing unseen relationships – power, balance, grace and conflict – between the body and its surroundings.
The project investigates athletes; pushing their bodies to their extreme capabilities, their movements shaped by an evolutionary process targeting a winning performance. Traditionally a form of entertainment in todays society with an overpowering competitive edge, the disciplines are deconstructed and interrogated from an exclusively mechanical and aesthetic point of view; concentrating on the invisible forces generated by and influencing the movement.
The source for the study is footage from the Commonwealth Games. The process of transformation from live footage to abstract forms is exposed as part of the interactive multi-screen artwork, to provide insight into the evolution of the specially crafted world in which the athletes were placed.
The video installation is currently being exhibited at the National Media Museums ’In The Blink of an Eye’ Exhibition, 9th March – 2nd September, 2012, alongside classic images by photographers as diverse Harold Edgerton, Eadweard Muybridge, Roger Fenton, Richard Billingham and Oscar Rejlander as well as historic items of equipment, films and interactive displays.
Quayola and Memo Akten – Artists
Nexus Interactive Arts - Production Company
Beccy McCray – Producer
Jo Bierton – Production Manager
Matthias Kispert - Sound design
Maxime Causeret – Houdini Developer
Raffael F J Ziegler (AKA Moco) – 3D Animator
Katie Parnell – 3D Tracker
Eoin Coughlan – 3D Tracker
Mark Davies – 3D Tracking Supervisor
Commissioned by the National Media Museum for the ‘In The Blink of an Eye‘ Exhibition 2012; with the support of imove, part of the Cultural Olympiad programme.
With thanks to BBC Motion Gallery and Commonwealth Games Federation
According to ancient mythology a monster known as the minotaur lived on the island of Crete. King Minos ordered a labyrinth to be built for the minotaur. The Athenians had to offer him human sacrifices, until Ariadne gave a ball of thread, “Ariadne’s thread”, to the ancient hero Theseus. He entered the labyrinth, killed the minotaur, and found his way back out with the help of the unrolled thread.
BIT.FLOW represents a visual and conceptional association to this ancient myth, in which the alleged chaos (the labyrinth appeared to the Athenians as a con- fusing structure of twisted paths) is defeated by unequivocal order. At the same time BIT.FLOW is concerned with an issue raised by French philosopher Michel Foucault in his interpretation of the ancient myth: What would happen if Ariadne’s thread would be irrevocably torn apart?
Navigation through the modern world is no longer linear, the thread cannot serve as a model for its description. In BIT.FLOW dozens of tiny pieces of the meta- phorical “red thread” constitute a chaotic swarm of particles or bits, the smallest elements of information. At a certain point, they are unexpectedly recombined in the oder of Ariadne’s thread and allow for perception. The signs produced by BIT. FLOW move through the tube in a particular order from beginning to end. But we can only recognise and perceive this bulk of information at particular times, from certain perspectives, as letters – a complex interplay: order in chaos – chaos in order.