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Indefinable Moods

Kathy Smith

Artist statement:

 "In 1994 I was awarded a residency with the Australian Network for Art & Technology and it was here that I began research in transposing my two-dimensional oil painted imagery into a three-dimensional environment. I had always wanted to create greater visual depth and perspective in my painting and animation work. By the mid-1990s, technology was allowing this type of experimentation for traditional artists. This was the beginning of an exciting period of renewal for the art form of animation through digital technology. In 1996, I was awarded a residency in the U.S. from the Australia Council for the Arts. I had been working on a series of paintings with 3D animation and interactivity in mind. I specifically proposed developing 2D/3D oil painted animation and virtual set installation. I applied for additional funding to study and do research at Silicon Graphics studio in Santa Monica. During my six months in the U.S., I did a series of lectures about my work at the California Institute for the Arts and also a lecture and workshop at the John C Hench Division of Animation and Digital Arts, USC. It is through these lectures that I was later invited back by former Professor and then Chair Vibeke Sorensen to be artist in residence at DADA and work on Indefinable Moods. Indefinable Moods was drawn from twenty-three oil painted panels (see below) that I mapped together in random arrangements.

Each painting dealt with either a specific dream image or was a construction of unconscious images and thought processes that often come to mind when I paint. From the oil painted panels I created an image-movement further exploring landscapes and symbols in nature, and linking these to psychological hopes, fears, and desires that exist in every culture. I wanted to convey the universal symbolism of dream landscapes and the relationship of the human psyche to the environment regardless of its physical location or form.

I chose to work with 3D software as it allowed me to collapse, reconstruct, and journey through a landscape of symbolic narrative. I approached the 3D environment as I did my painting, where symbolic narrative is not represented in a linear cause-and-effect mode. The computer environment allowed me to work in a gallery-like space. I could process and join elements of symbols and painting and then manipulate these images to a much greater degree than if I were only working on a two-dimensional surface. This was also reflected in the sound design. I purposely threw rhythms and timing out of beat to disorient the viewer and to reflect the imagery’s constant collapse and recon- struction. I used Dolby Digital 5.1 SRD to create a physical sound-space and further enhance the shifts in mood by locating sounds around the theater.

The breakthrough in 3D technology, digital sound, and media has allowed more artists to express their ideas in a unique and personal way. It has extended the boundaries for my expression through painting and given me a more complete format to convey my ideas."

Other events 

Indefinable Moods was awarded first place at the City University of Hong Kong Computer Graphics International Digital Media Art Track Award as well as Best Animated Short at the USA Film Festival and Best Animation at the Convergence Art Film Festival in Providence Rhode Island. It was screened at SIGGRAPH 2001 N-Space Art Gallery, and at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival; it has been 
documented in Leonardo: The Journal of the International Society for the Arts, Sciences, and Technology as part of the 9th New York Digital Salon.

Indefinable Moods, 2001 – via Vimeo