Intro to Digital Womb

Digital Womb examines the creative process. Its core image, Il Moro alla Laguna, is from Lindell Lee McElfresh's I Capricci Veneziani. I believe I Capricci Veneziani similarly concerns the creative process. One artist, Lindell Lee McElfresh, explores the work of another, Vittore Carpaccio, whose imagery is digitally plucked out of its original early Renaissance context and placed in a modern context. For me the beauty of I Capricci Veneziani stems from the seamless application of this process.

Over the years computers have evolved tremendously as artistic tools. They have become cheaper, easier to use, and more powerful. Their influence on the arts has grown exponentially, redefining the technologies involved in making modern communications media possible, transforming audio, video, cinema, and publishing. It is impossible to deny their impact runs beyond artistic skill; yet true artists exploit this, allowing the technology to assert its own unique aesthetic. Lindell Lee McElfresh, through mastering the subtle intricacies of Adobe Photoshop, proves himself such an artist. Il Moro alla Laguna consists of seven Photoshop layers. McElfresh was kind enough to let me sample Il Moro alla Laguna. Digital Womb is an exploration of both McElfresh's artistic vision and the technology used to create that vision. The piece forges a path between artistic design and raw technological power. Its process of creation, consisting of two animations - one flowering out of another - systematically brings that path into being. The first animation mutates Il Moro alla Laguna layer by layer, fusing the layers into a pattern of shifting shapes, until a single layer, containing the rear perspective of a turbaned man, dominates, takes on life, and we discover a ghostly face. The second animation, made in the same way as the first, but running in reverse, immediately commences as the first concludes, deconstructing a mutation, a metallic sci-fi spider, unraveling it layer by layer. Here, surprisingly, the dominant layer contains a lone bird in the upper right corner of Il Moro alla Laguna. Because the overall animation is a perpetual loop, everything converges upon and stems from Il Moro alla Laguna.

Digital Womb consists of 316 frames. It lasts approximately 4 minutes and 18 seconds, then loops. A high-speed Internet connection is required and I recommend using Firefox as your browser. Even with a high-speed connection, due to its dense texture, the animation may initially run at a jagged rate. What I have learned from posting deeply textured animations in the Digital Hallucinations section of Illumination Gallery is that such animations often need to play through once before running at their proper rate. I do apologize for this inconvenience, but I feel it is necessary to constantly stretch the boundaries of the web as a medium.

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