Re:Cycle3 (generative video, Max, 2014)
Re:Cycle 3 is a generative ambient video art piece based on nature imagery captured in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Ambient video is designed to play in the background of our lives. It is a moving image form that is consistent with the ubiquitous distribution of ever-larger video screens. The visual aesthetic supports a viewing stance alternative to mainstream media - one that is quieter and more contemplative - an aesthetic of calmness rather than enforced immersion. An ambient video work is therefore difficult to create - it can never require our attention, but must always rewards viewer attention when offered. A central aesthetic challenge for this form is that it must also support repeated viewing. Re:Cycle 3 relies on a generative recombinant strategy for ongoing variability, and therefore a higher measure of re-playability. It does so through the use of two databases: one database of video clips, and another of video transition effects. The piece will run indefinitely, joining clips and transitions from the two databases in varied combinations.
Creative input to the system derives in part from the selection of shots that an artist uses. By choosing to use landscape images with a range of elements such as snow, trees, ice, clouds and water, Re:Cycle 3 evokes my love of the natural environment. These images also produce the ‘ambient’ quality I am seeking by being both engaging when viewed directly, but also easily moving to the background when not. Additional creative input comes from the setting of various parameters in the MAX software program, as well as from creating metatags for the videos that constrain the selection process to produce more meaningful and/or visually interesting sequences. The overall design of the piece incorporates a series of decisions (number of shots, quality of shots, transition selection, algorithmic process) that strike a balance between re-playability/variation on the one hand, and aesthetic control on the other.
For preview and assessment purposes, the video displayed here was captured directly from a live run of the system and has not been edited or modified in any way.