Intro to Exploding/Coalescing

Exploding/Coalescing differs from any of my previous animations in that it was created both for public and web presentation. In point of fact, I created the animation for Kathleen Supové's CD Release Show: Solo CD with Major Who Media at Le Poisson Rouge (158 Bleecker St. @ Thompson in NYC) on 8/17/10 between 7:30 and 9:00 PM. But it is absolutely a web animation as well.

Creating art is a constant learning experience, especially when exploring new forms. Web animation is most definitely a new form. Animations specifically produced for the web have existed for less than 20 years. In my own experience I have evolved from refining animated GIFs to experimenting with Flash. Exploding/Coalescing, the Flash animation for which these words serve as an introduction, is a reworking of a 2006 animated GIF of mine called Channeling Marjorie Cameron. I created Channeling Marjorie Cameron for the Digital Hallucinations section of Illumination Gallery, where I post richly textured animated GIFs that stretch the technical boundaries of the web. In effect, these animations butt up against the web itself. Because the animations have hundreds of frames, initially they do not run at their intended rate. It takes time for them to come to life. For me this "limitation" serves to illustrate the fledgling state of the web as a medium. Ultimately, the animations run as intended, bringing into relief the potential power of the web as an outlet for animation. What inspired Channeling Marjorie Cameron? Let me quote from the 2006 introduction:

I was inspired to create this animation after attending a performance by Kathleen Supové at The Flea Theater. Aside from enjoying the performance, I was struck by how Kathleen Supové visually reminded me of photographs I've seen of Marjorie Cameron, who quite fascinates me, both as a haunting presence in Kenneth Anger's Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome and a unique player in the California art scene of the late 1940s and early 1950s. That scene possessed a naiveté/madness long since gone from the American art scene and, for that matter, from the global art scene as well. Now, I am not exactly saying I would have enjoyed participating in that scene; for, yes, it was defined by a certain naiveté. Nevertheless, the madness fascinates me. I wish I could channel it. Why? It's the romantic in me. There's just something bizarrely magical about the overlapping of art, spirituality, and politics in a scene combining the talents and chicanery of folks as diverse as Kenneth Anger, Marjorie Cameron, Jack Parsons, and L. Ron Hubbard. In the end what can I say but that a key inspirational figure behind the scene may have been Aleister Crowley?

Flash animation allows me to tap the madness I refer to above on a more visceral level. I was thinking of Jack Parsons, Marjorie Cameron's lover, when putting together Exploding/Coalescing. Jack Parsons wasn't exactly an artist. He could perhaps best be described as a scientist/mystic, a key figure in both the American space program and the American occult movement. Here is a link to a fine article on Parsons, for whom science and magic connected through their "rebellions against the very limits of human existence." Part of me wishes I could believe in magic the way Marjorie Cameron and Jack Parsons did. What I do believe in is the ability of art to suggest magical possibilities. Exploding/Coalescing takes images of Kathleen Supové and Marjorie Cameron (the same images I used in Channeling Marjorie Cameron) and explodes/coalesces the images in a 3 minute and 8.6 second loop, generating a transformative process. This is easily my most ambitious Flash animation. It is a huge (huge for the web) 16.5 MB file, composed of 500 different images. The animation runs a tad slow the first time around. However, the difference between the initial and later run-throughs isn't nearly so stark as with my larger animated GIFs.

View Exploding/Coalescing