When he announced launching a crowdfunding campaign for his brand-new album, promising a spiritual successor to his previous albums Colours and Deliverance, I was immediately on board with the whole idea, no-doubt.
One of the tiers to be claimed contained a Special Credits Mention, with only 10 spots available to fill.
Well, you know what I had to do with that one don't you? I'm extremely proud to be displayed as Florian Giroul (Trowflox) on the inside of his new album sleeve!
Along the Special Credits Mention, I also purchased the The Silver Package. This included
1 x Deliverance 12" Repress 1 x New Album Double LP (+ Digital Copy)
Wanting to start designing my new stickers, I can't wait for my old batch to run out so I can go and start to produce my new version of stickers.
In order to speed up that whole process, I might have to go a night out in Brussels and take all of my old stickers that I've left to put them all over the city. So I can start to focus on the new ones, while my presence in the city will be enhanced even further.
Although this book written by the Kelley brothers can be used by all kinds of individuals to unlock their creative potential, I do feel like the book is more targeted towards entrepreneurs and business owners.
Here are a few highlights for me.
A huge part of creativity lies in building perseverance, showing more resilience, seeing your full potential, unclouded by doubt and anxiety.
Curiosity and willingness to grow/learn will also determine how quickly you will pick up on things out of your comfort zone.
If you focus on making one perfect piece of work you will achieve less results compared to if you try to make the same piece 10 times over again. Because each time you re-iterate, you will learn something for the next version to be made.
There are barriers on both ends of the skill distribution curve. Non-artists need reassurance so they can express themselves in rough sketches, while artists need encouragement to set their professionalism aside to draw a few simple lines.
Do not underestimate the power of thought-walks. Whenever you're stuck on a problem, just take a walk and let your problem-solving power of daydreaming do the work.
Seeking a younger reverse-mentor can be a great way for more experienced individuals to continue to grow/flourish and stay up to date with the new cultural trends in an area of mutual interest.
The most effective way to practice design thinking is by showing, not telling. You're better off making a scrappy but tangible prototype, than to try and explain your concept in fancy words.
Nothing stops you from delivering multiple prototypes at the same time in order to get an honest opinion from others when presenting them different versions of your work.
Even if your very first try turns out to be bad, it's still better than not trying at all. And you'll learn something in the process for your next try.
The gap between the life you live today and the life you ought to be living according to your personal vision is called 'resistance'. Resistance can be tackled, one day at a time.
Their crew managed to use projection mapping in order to tell the compelling story of the 1302 independence of the County of Flanders from the Kingdom of France. Since that war was mainly fought and vanquished in the city of Kortijk, it made sense to showcase this storytelling experience in the city's church.
The technical crew managed to create a modular system where all church windows are closed off with huge window shutters on a large scale during the screening, and then opened back up again for regular church services.
The production crew Illustrated and animated this historical event with a great eye for visual details, all the while staying true to the accurate facts gathered from resources surrounding the 1302 'Battle of the Golden Spurs'.
Planning to do the same with this new animation, I stumbled upon a major problem. The Lottie plugin for After Effects does not support Ae's native Effects. As you probably can tell from my HD render below, I used tons of effects on this one.
So after comparing the alternatives available to me, I decided that using an animated GIF was the best option. Biggest downside? It significantly reduces the original quality to a point where important details get lost in the final version. What's the upside? It automatically plays once on page-load, and then freezes the very last frame. Which is exactly what I need it to do.
There's this idea of creating an anti-portfolio, where basically you list a bunch of events that you are really not proud of at all. With the sole purpose of learning from those mistakes, in order to prevent them from happening again in the future.
The first few things that come to mind for me are:
- leaving my teaching job too early
- leaving the VJ collective too early
- leaving my first fixed job too early
Now, can you see the pattern here? (-:
Although the last one turned out relatively good for me (it would have resulted in a dead-end job anyway), I must admit that I might have to be more cautious with this 'habit' in the future.
I'll have to recognize the struggle that comes with increasingly complex challenges for what it really is: A unique opportunity to grow.
Since I produced some 'failed' sticker batches in the past, I thought I might as well reincorporate them into bigger sticker compositions wherever my original stickers are already sticking on.
That's when you get something like in the pictures below.
It does look cool this way, although I'd love for all these separate elements to actually exist in one single sticker in the future. That's why I'm currently working on sketches for a redesign. Stay tuned, and keep your eyes open in the city! 👀
I just finished the first book (out of 6) from the Akira manga series.
Must say it's really good. Some of the still illustrations have such a dynamic feel to them, it's almost as if they could serve as advanced storyboard references for animation.
Naturally Katsuhiro Otomo, the creator of the manga series (1982), also directed the animated film (1988).
Speaking of the animated film, they will be screening it on a LED panel at the campsite during the Rampage Open Air Festival this weekend.
Unfortunately, I promised myself not to watch the animated film before I read all of the manga books. But at the same time, I was never able to find the film online before, and sharing this experience with random strangers also seems like some kind of a thrill!
So I really don't know what to do with that. Guess I'll just have to decide in the moment. :-)
I finally saw it! This iconic film remained unchecked on my watchlist for ages, until now.
There are obviously countless aspects of the film that could be discussed in great depth, but I'd like to focus on just one specific element: The beautifully abstract and colourful 'entity' towards the end of the film, when Dave collides / morphs with the wormhole / monolith. And also what happens right after that.
Now, what follows will be my personal take on this succession of scenes. So I'm aware that anybody else who watched the film before I might disagree with my interpretation of what's happening here.
Could it be that hyper-intelligent life forms existing in outer space don't look like those green slimy creatures with huge black eyes, but rather more like this: Endless waves of unimaginable amounts energy constantly moving, shifting, causing (de-) fragmentations on a massive scale, with the sole purpose of restoring some state of ultimate balance from within.
Humans tend to portray extraterrestrial forms of life as heavily morphed versions of what they're already familiar with on their own planet: Animal-like creatures. There's an assumption in this that any living form not known to us yet must come with a number of legs, and if not legs, tentacles. How ignorant.
If some entity ought to be more intelligent compared to humans (and therefore also man-made computers), it makes way more sense for it to be formless, having no measurable mass, but still containing all the resources it needs to exist as a superior being.
Perhaps that entity that understands us better than ourselves (due to its higher intelligence) has the power to guide our actions in the most peculiar and subtle ways. Could it be that what we humans call 'lucky coincidences', or 'meant to be', are actually products of what that entity dictates upon us from outer space through a variety of invisible forces / vibrations?
I'm aware that this narrative comes close to the idea of 'a God', or a (computer) simulation customizable from 'out there' by a higher 'authority'. But doesn't it at least sound more convincing than oddly shaped creatures that never found the willpower to try and reach us before?
It could also help us understand better what is happening in this scene where Dave chooses to shut down the HAL-9000 computer against the machine's own will, where it seems to suffer from its slow deactivation process.
Towards the very end of the deactivation process, HAL-9000 asks Dave if he can sing one last song before shutting down completely. Dave agrees, as he understands how it could make HAL feel better about his nearing death.
Now, if we try to tie this back with the events occurring right after Dave's encounter with the wormhole / monolith (being the higher entity here) we could interpret the following 'visions of death' from Dave's viewpoint almost as a 'veil of hallucinations' put up by the higher entity to make Dave's process of dying more soothing / familiar to him. In a similar way to how Dave allowed this to happen for HAL-9000 with the song earlier in the film.
Went to see the graduation projects of the Narafi photography students (also part of LUCA School of Arts) at Tour & Taxis.
I noticed I was naturally drawn towards more abstract, high contrast, almost graphical compositions. Which makes sense, knowing that my own work also rarely depicts any moving characters or other elements coming from nature.
I love sharp architecture, repetitive textures, and mysterious shadows. Dark subjects on even darker backgrounds. Also, I have a huge weakness for subtle use of neon colors (on black backgrounds, obviously)!
Today the Master students had to present their Masterfilms to the (external) jury.
The Bachelor students were free to join the screenings, so I went to see what it was all about.
I was left amazed by the three following students in particular.
Brecht De Cock w/ Artifacts of you, artifacts of me
About the passing away of his father, capturing physical memories and making them live on forever digitally. I really love the visual style Brecht uses for this (all kinds of black & white broken 3D meshes and fluid simulations).
Koen Malliet w/ Humbug
A fever dream about doubting ones own self-worth. A crisis of the self. Koen really succeeds in captivating the audience in his journey through the troubled mind. The pace is well timed, and the visual style that comes with using these specific stop motion techniques really works for him.
Alosh Alemşah Firat w/ Tuning
I truly enjoyed watching this rather dynamic music video. Alosh works mainly with frame by frame animation, which allows her to be very expressive in her transitions between various organic loops.
For my preparatory programme to the Masters I had to present my Bachelorfilm From Slaves to Raves to the jury. Both the members of the jury and myself were pretty happy with the overall results of how the performance turned out captured on film. But they still went on to share some invaluable feedback for me to improve my craft nevertheless.
If my visual performance exists only in a three-dimensional space, why would I not use surround sound (instead of stereo)?
I should take care of every single detail in the physical representation of my performance, because every choice I make in my setup sends a specific message to the participants.
I also should take more care of the participants themselves, and maybe let them interact more with the whole experience. How would I feel experiencing my own performance?
My final single-screen edit to be presented to the jury, has to embed the same kind of feeling I tried to evoke while performing the live version. This means I should captivate the viewer by using more dynamic animations and sounds, that I've also been using during the performance. Instead of merely showing them an edit that feels more like a making-of or aftermovie of the whole thing, my final animation film ought not to show a summary of the whole performance (once again), it should rather feel like the performance itself.
I must not forget that if I come up with a grand philosophical idea about how to handle things, I should then still be able to reintegrate this idea into something tangible and technically achievable. After the whole conceptualization phase (artistic), I have to realize that I'll still have to be my own executor (technical). So I better make sure to learn how to balance those out in a healthy, productive way.
I must say I tend to agree with everything the jury mentioned, which actually makes me want to go back to the drawing board as soon as possible. Although, this work will probably have to be continued in the form of a (possibly very different) Masterfilm. Looking forward!
After all Springville: Disasters and amusement parks
That's the title of Miet Warlop's latest production. I went to see her at Les Brigittines contemporary art centre Brussels. I was left amazed by the number of special effects. Things exploding, falling down, popping out, floating up,... as well as the many subtle humorous elements that were really appreciated throughout the whole performance (not only by me, the whole crowd seemed pretty agitaded!).
What stuck with me the most, is the almost childish nature of it all. It seemed as if the piece was created for the sole purpose of making big children laugh, by constantly taking them by surprise and pulling of silly (but very effective) jokes. You can imagine then, that this was a very colorful performance.
Today the school expected us to hand in our Bachelorfilm (along w/ some other files) on a physical hard drive. We also had to add the film to our portfolio website. So feel free to check out my new #FSTR project page, and make sure to notify me if you'd notice anything odd/broken about the webpage.
The jury evaluations will take place this Friday. I'm quite excited about rounding things of on a good note at LUCA before jumping fully into the summer holidays! There's a good chance those will be my last 3-month holidays actually. Because if everything goes smoothly, I'd finish my Masters in Animation by next academic year. But 'holidays' doesn't have to mean 'vegging out' essentially... Rather I'm looking forward to this year's festival season, big time! Both my inner raver spirit, as well as my VJ-self want to go hard the next upcoming weeks.
About every other Tuesday, the SEADS network gathers for online updates / presentations. Today, Arise Wan presented her work (both related to architecture and personal experiments).
I was left amazed by how she manages for each creation to find the right balance between pure scientific technicality and her more speculative input as an artist. Here's a link to her ISSUU page for you to check out more work.
Backstory: I met Arise earlier during the SEADS Ēngines of Ēternity exhibition at VUB's Pilar. She illustrated this beautifully complex drawing tailored to the theme of the research project. My very first thought right after letting the artwork sink in a bit was: I want to animate this!
So, ahead I went and started with a first (very small) frame by frame test. This is still a very basic attempt to animate her work, but we'll have to see where this could bring us in the future :-).
I tried generating several text prompt based A.I. experiments today using the DALL-E mini GitHub project. It's an unofficial (and extremely simplified) version of the DALL-E 2 software I was talking about earlier. Check out my 'creations' below.
And keep in mind, I didn't touch any virtual brush, Photoshop- or 3d modeling tool in order to make these. Just text, literally a few words. Around 50 seconds, that's how long it took on average to produce each and every one of those uniquly generated images that didn't exist before.
It's all over the internet. The new technology that will kill digital art (and soon also computer animation) in the same way the camera device killed photorealistic painting back in the 1800's: Artificial Intelligence.
Or more specifically, DALL-E 2 (running on OpenAI).
Those who thought their job was safe from 'being replaced by robots' merely because of the potential of their human creativity ... well, those people were dead wrong (incl. myself). The same goes for music artists by the way, not only visual artists. Feel free to branch off to this really good blog post written by the people at Emakina.
But, let's not fear of course, because true artists will always find a way around such contemporary challenges.
A.I. (and it's underlying algorithms) will soon have to become nothing more than just 'another color to choose from, on the wide palette of indefinitely various digital tools'.
That will in the end be what distinguishes us, ever innovating, and creative human beings from completely automated systems: We will once again have to 'learn and adapt' to our increasingly complex surroundings, in the same many (audiovisual) artists were forced to do so before us.
The 2nd performance day went great as well. Even got to enhance my VJ set a bit (soft- and hardware), also tweaked the laser animations a bit further. Also, I decided to change up the entire structure of the installation according to the room for it to make more sense in relation with the participants.
That said, I must admit there's still a whole lot of room for improvement to be made here.
I believe a lot happens at the same time (various elements spread across narrow space). Maybe the key here would be for me to let each element breathe more individually, almost one at the time, so each section gets its dedicated share of attention within the whole performance.
But in general I'm very glad that my project has a strong conceptual backbone, and that the main issues lie more in the technical execution of things. Because that was my whole motivation for going to art school in the first place, to get more familiar with the whole practice behind creating thoughtful personal work.
From today on until my first 'From Slaves to Raves' performance 18th of May, I'll be working at the Recyclart Brussels being one of their Open Call / Residence artists, in context of my LUCA School of Arts final work.
My Hackintosh desktop is already installed on-site.
Slowly running out of stickers, I decided to go for a new design. But clearly I've been struggling to get it right..
My previous stickers included screenshots of my VDMX workstation, along w/ some renders created using the software, and a '@trowflox' tag.
Now I've been experimenting w/ my randomly generated Digital Dimensions record covers. Problem is, thinking my previous stickers were a bit too large, I went way too small this time making the elements in the designs hard to distinguish.
Also, I figured I might as well use my 'trowflox' tag again, which I seem to have forgotten twice. So back to the drawing board I guess!
Today May 4th 2022, is the first time we performed w/ the SEADS collective in a staged audiovisual live setting. It felt great to collaborate with former teachers / students on this one. Everybody brought their best visuals, and Pieter on the video switcher made it all come together nicely. Huge big up to Max Frimout on his bleep-bloops as well.
Last Friday night, we went out w/ friends at the Spirito Ixelles. Sunday night, we went to Thylacine's Botanique concert. Both featured some interesting light concepts, playing w/ techniques that bring more 'physicality' into to setup.
Tonight I followed this Max MSP / Generative online lecture hosted by Music Hackspace. It focussed on creating computer generated musical compositions, along with a visual component.
I was surprised to see that Max MSP, primarily known for music production purposes, also has a solid support for visually generative work using their jitter library. This means, as the speakers indeed demonstrated, that you could produce everything (both the musical and visual components) within one and the same software, being Max MSP.
But then again, working with OSC and Syphon/Spout to interconnect the software with others like e.g. TouchDesigner, vvvv, or VDMX, the possibilities get closer to endless again.
Working with a beamer on campus, I stumbled upon this interesting composition where you get aurora-like reflections on the wall by shining the video projection directly onto the metal parts of the ceiling's tube lights. The light then gets scattered to stretch out in a sharp, but also bendy way.
Unrelated bonus footage of Vic's big idea to project the batman logo on nearby buildings.
Last Thursday I attended the opening event of the Manned Flight exhibition at PILAR Brussels, where I met up with a bunch of my mentors and former (co-)students who worked on the project together. Most of them are now operating and active in the SEADS network.
Here's my modest attempt in trying to explain what their work is all about (it has so many layers to it, some of which I barely understand the surface of):
"A bunch of scientist studied how little organisms called 'rotifers' evolved over time, stored all the data behind their research, and then sent those creatures into space w/ one of Elon Musk's spacecrafts, only to bring them back later, and apply the same studies on them once again, in order to see how they evolved / altered in some way or another."
- Florian Giroul
Now, the méga cool thing about this, is that artists were then asked to try and make sense of all this data visually, and condense it into something that's a bit more insightful to the uneducated viewer on this scientifically deep topic (like myself).
I was truly left amazed by the particularly complex and detailed illustrations of Arise Wan. They have a very visceral quality to them, makes me want to animate the pieces!
The very final step in presenting my randomly generated cover artworks, was to actually video map them upon the empty LP sleeves. Super glad with how the sleeve material turns out to be reflecting the projector's light in a very neat way.
Update on the NFT fx(hash) side of things: Since the original launch at 02:04 last night, I've already made 4 unique sales! Check out the TROWFLOX_COVER project page for more info.
Feel free to read my Bachelor Report on the topic of how Afro-American culture influenced today's European rave music, all the way from Charleston USA, to Kingston Jamaica, to London UK. I also discuss how both slaves and ravers gather together momentarily in intimate spaces to transcend from their existence and evolve towards a moment of sheer bliss.
gives "the potential of real life" a second chance through digital means.
He portrays the marvelous aesthetics of nature and the beauty of somewhat distant, yet intriguingly solid memories, perhaps from the near future. It's all shown through a 'digital lens', using topnotch VFX techniques and generative content, which makes it super relatable to today's youth, and his (safe to say) slightly 'geeky' fanbase.
It’s funny to see how Porter puts great importance in the visual aspect of the show being on stage himself. He constantly looks back at the LED screen to check if the content matches up with the rest of his performance.
At some point he just took a Macbook with a built-in webcam and pointed it towards the crowd, in order to show them on the LED screen behind him. And then he went on to turn the Macbook's webcam back towards the stage to capture himself, along w/ the LED screen behind him, therefore creating an endless video feedback loop. Very clever, I must admit!
Went and picked up a few books at LUCA's library today, as (visual) inspiration for my Bachelor Project. I'll dive into the physical aspect of the work soon, but I'd need to enhance my Bachelor Report itself a bit first. Keep y'all updated!
For the Digital Dimensions courses, I previously experimented with quadTrees in P5.js. Squares got replaced by circles, circles by abstract drawings, and then I ended up throwing in a bunch of other stuff.
I'm working with a random color picker from a defined palette here, also numbers are getting displayed randomly as 'labels'. The horizontal / vertical / bidirectional grid structures are drawn with some spacing in-between, that once again gets defined by elements of chance. Also messing around with push() & pop() transforms, and the P5.js filters such as blur and threshold.
Next steps? Minting these randomly generated artworks as NFT's on fx(hash), with some Tezos the teacher provided me. And of course, using video projection mapping again. The idea would be to project the generative artworks upon several blank record sleeves on a physical shelf, as if they were ever-changing cover art designs, for final presentation purposes.
Below is a video of me presenting the whole concept to my fellow classmates and the teacher, in Dutch.
Also, check out some of the uniquely generated album covers below the screen capture video.
The very core of my Bachelor report is already written out, but its structure doesn't make any sense. There's no smooth transition between the chapters, and concepts sometimes get recalled at places irrelevant throughout the report. My mind was all over the place writing in a state of flow, losing track of the grand overview.
That's when it's time to take a step back, and rearrange, then reconsider, and finally rewrite the whole report. I did just that, printing out my report and cutting out the individual paragraphs, in order to be able to reposition them among each other. And also strike through unnecessary parts, or write down important side notes with a pen, directly on paper.
Today I went to see 'De tijger eet de zebra en de vogel vliegt verschiet weg' by Benjamin Verdonck in Toneelhuis Antwerpen.
I would personally describe it as a choreography of shapes and lights colliding with each other in space. The performance started in black and white, and gradually went towards duotone. There were no human characters, only abstract shapes, and then there was a dog at some point. That was interesting.
I must say I did enjoy watching a performance purely constructed by shapes, projections and lights. It had a very robust / mechanical aspect to it. Also, whenever a shape was abruptly pulled off stage, you could actually hear the whole physical system of metal strings winding up fast.
Remarkable was how Benjamin chose to go towards a more transparent approach with his performance. He started of by reflecting light animations on minimalistic shapes to create the illusion of false perspectives. This felt very intriguing and a bit magical in a way; He left the audience literally in the dark on how the whole system functioned. Until, towards the end of the piece, he chose to gradually unveil the mechanics behind the whole system, almost like a magician revealing the secrets behind a trick to his audience.
Background lights were used to intentionally illuminate the metal strings, and puppet-like structures, moving the shapes across the stage. At some point, the music got replaced by narration to further break down the raw process behind the production. The narrator went 'Square rotate 360° counterclockwise', so the square did, 'Big circle off', and off the big circle went. As if the audience was allowed to follow along with the script in real-time, whilst watching it all unfold.
I grabbed this photography book in LUCA's library, because it seemed quite unconventional.
These (probably slightly edited) photographs feel more like graphical compositions than actual pictures of the horizon of the sea. I must say I really like the format in which those compositions are presented:
Each individual photograph has it's own timestamp, local temperature, month of the year, and actual location printed on the back. Which almost reminds me of how generative art works in a way. You enter a bunch of parameters, and the software spits out a computed artwork for you. Except here, Rousteau actually went out to all of those places to take a physical photograph. Which seems pretty insane if you ask me.
Also a remarkable choice of him to label the photographs as being '1/62', '2/62', '3/62', ... This reminds me a bit of the NFT sphere, where generative artworks are minted using unique 'generative tokens'.
Located near Place de l'Yser in Brussels, ARGOS are currently exhibiting Don & Moki Cherry's Organic Music Societies and Alexander Kluge's Minutenfilme #3. They also keep an ever-growing archive of artist films and videos, housing the richest collection of Belgium, being a reference for audiovisual arts internationally.
I went through some of their books in the public library, and found myself inspired by a select few.
These two might help me in writing my bachelor report.
Last Thursday, I visited this light show at Groot-Bijgaarden Castle. The whole park was Illuminated with lights and subtly animated effects. They played with the whole idea of the 4 seasons, subdividing the site accordingly into themed sections.
Summer was obviously very a popular one. It actually felt 'warm', although it was something like 5ºC in reality. Nevertheless, I related more to the twinkling nature and sharp color palette of the winter theme.
To my opinion the price of €15 for a regular ticket is a bit on the higher end though, considering the production only used (slightly animated) lights for the event. Am I being biased again if I'm saying they could have done something with video projections, or maybe lasers?
But in general, I'm happy that see how the event industry is able to improvise in such ways during the pandemic season.
Tried projection on gauze material (4 layers), in order to create a replicating effect. It's only when I put a plexi surface behind that gauze that things got really interesting. And even more so when trying to 'catch' the remaining light behind the plexi on a black surface, and realising it was barely possible. A visual illusion was created right there and then, out of pure experimentation!
Bonus: Waving your hand between the beamer and the gauze creates a shadow, but between the gauze and the plexi doesn't, for some reason.
Extremely stoked about this guest lecture by Yannick Jacquet (from AntiVJ collective) for the Animation Expanded courses.
Yannick started by introducing his own artistic work, and went on with refering to other major video mapping references in the field. He also dived into the more practicle stuff of choosing the right video mapping software and beamer / projection hardware. In the afternoon we had a basic introduction to the MadMapper software. Although supposed to be a 'basic' introduction, it felt like a rather elaborate one to me! I've been using the software for quite some time now, and I actually learned a whole bunch today:
You can create complex multiscreen animations in real-time by using MadMappers generative sources as luma masks over your original content, using the Multiply blending mode.
You can make mapping scene 'presets' and trigger them through midi, with the option of using automatic transitions between them.
You can use MadMapper modules like 'oscillator' (LFO), Arduino 'firmata', 'weather' by location, ... as live inputs for controlling your different layer's parameters.
Also very valuable to me was to see a total overview of Yannick's trajectory so far. He started out in advertising, went on as a VJ (related to his passion for music), and then gradually shifted towards more installation / stage design related work. Those installations, being rather artistic in nature compared to the more commercial aspect of VJing (and especially ads), give Yannick the possibilty to translate his vision more accurately through his work, and therefore making the audience connect more deeply with his pieces. It eases my mind a bit to see how one can slowely but surely move all to way from making occasional corporate / advertising work in order to survive, to being a full-time independent audiovisual installation artist.
Here are some (silly) pictures taken during the video mapping workshop.
I read both Part I, Life Principles and Part II, Work Principles.
My biggest take-aways from the book?
It's always worth communicating in the most transparent way possible, even if the message hurts. At least, you and others know where you stand. It's an effective way to get small problems out of the way before they get all too big and more difficult to handle.
Be radically open-minded, meaning in a discussion instead of wanting to push your personal opinion at all costs, rather seek to find the ultimate truth together.
Work with others to compensate for your lack of natural abilities, your 'blind-spots', in order to elevate each other in doing things you otherwise wouldn't be able to do alone.
The opinions of highly believable people on a certain topic (because of their knowledge or experience) are way more important compared to those from less believable people. Therefore when a decision has to be made, instead of letting those ranked higher-up decide for everybody else, or let every single individual have an exactly equally valid vote on the topic, rather let the ones expert on the topic weigh in more on the matter.
When I was younger, I always used to test as an ENFJ (Protagonist).
Later on, I became more of an ENFP (Campaigner) apparently.
I even tested as an INFP, or INFJ at some point! Although very briefly.
Feeling lucky today, I tested once again only to find out I'm back to being an ENFJ.
My point? Don't take those personality test all to seriously. Although, they're a great tool to explore the different types of people living on this planet. Also if you see some kind of pattern reemerge, for me it's being typed as a xNFx (Diplomat) over and over again, then it might be a good idea to dive a bit deeper into this.
But again, don't let those results define you / drive you into acting differently. I think they should only be used as a tool for gaining more insight into how different brains (incl. yours) work.
When I visited the animation (short)film festival Anima last week from Monday-Thursday, I noticed one reoccurring theme across all screenings: There were almost no genuinely abstract pieces to be found.
Every animation had a specific story to tell, or a particular 'purpose' to share. It was extremely hard to find an example that focussed exclusively on evoking a feeling / dynamic through sound, color and movement. I'm having a hard time trying to remember one that didn't include any human or animal-like character of some kind.
Why does this bother me? Well, because I believe some 'stories' hit harder when they are not just told but rather experienced. I might be wrong, and maybe a bit biased coming from a VJ background, but to me a perfectly timed audiovisual performance from your favorite artist penetrates way deeper than a mouse and a duck fighting over a broomstick. I'm obviously exaggerating here, but you get the point I'm trying to make.
This realization of being one of the odd ones out hit me once again today, when I entered Brussels' (probably most famous) second-hand bookstore. I planned to just roam around and see what would catch my eye. What did I find? Apart from all te regular fiction and non-fiction books, TONS of comics. Really, a lot of them. And while browsing the photography shelf, what do you think I found there? Yes, one of two things: 1. Portraits 2. Destinations.
I was just about to leave when I found this one book that genuinely evoked curiosity in me.
It's a book collecting the works of Carlo Bernardini, an artist using thin strokes of light in strikingly beautiful architectural settings. I didn't know him yet, but his work makes me feel something. And that's without him having to explain his concept through a typical 'narrator' / character figure. I'd be more than glad to further explore his (abstract) vision!
So where does this particular shape come from? Some say it reminds them of a cool 80's logo, other say it looks like a d*ck... When in fact it's just a combination of the three, most basic, primary shapes.
The rectangle stands for PATH, and therefore also the 'long term vision' of bigger (video) productions. The upside down triangle stands for EXPRESSION, and focusses on the 'here and now' of live VJ gigs. And finally there's the circle in the middle, holding both the rectangle and the triangle together, representing a healthy BALANCE between both the future and the present. As well as the linear thinking (or visualizing) and the actively doing (or creating) that come together in all great designs.
I have this poster from Kurzgesagt at home, showing me an overview of the entirety of a lifespan. It hangs in front of my bed, reminding me every morning that our time on this planet is indeed very finite in a way. And the only way to extend our lives (just a tiny bit) beyond the borders of our defined time, is to create good work (and good memories) that last, despite of us not being around anymore.
It reminds us to pursue and to contribute with what we feel like is important (to us) in this day and age, and not to be too much of an asshole in the whole process.
Notice how I also chose to 'mark-out' the ages from 76 till 100? Well, the poster claims that age 76 is the 'Average life expectancy for men in the US'. And although I believe as Europeans our life expectations are slightly higher compared to those of the US, you never know! Especially in a world of mutating viruses, frequent natural disasters, and angry politicians with nuclear weapons at their disposal.
Went out at C12 Brussels with classmates yesterday, and Madame Moustache the week before. Boy, did we miss this. You can not even imagine!
Like I'll discuss in my bachelor paper (more info on that later this semester), in a world of many uncertainties and crises, this phenomenon of actively replacing frustration with salvation, is not only a logical but also a crucial development. Those social gatherings are meant to help us in escaping our current reality, in order to (re)connect with a higher self for a brief moment. As a kind of communal dance ritual, they have always played a huge part in our societies, effectively bringing peace of mind across many cultures in human history. And especially today, raves being a modern form of such transcendental practices, they are very appealing to individuals seeking out that feeling of conscious liberation from a heavy, mostly unpredictable life.
This rave culture, a culture that in the end is all about love and unity, is not ready to disappear any time soon. You can choose to lean into it, or you can surely choose to ignore it, if that's what you want to do. But you can never shut it down. Many tried before, none of them succeeded. For now, all I have to say is: Thank god they are back! And hope to see you soon at one of them :-)
Yesterday I saw Netflix' Don't Look Up! at my local cultural centre. These two things stuck with me:
I'm glad I actually quit social media.
Although the representation of mobile and social media usage for entertainment purposes is a bit exaggerated in the movie, I still see how our society could easily evolve towards such a reality. When we look at TikTok for example, and how younger generations consume on the platform, it's not really reassuring if you ask me.
The satisfaction that comes with making your own choices, regardless of popular opinion, feels surprisingly liberating.
When everyone seems to be strongly against your opinion or actively try to ignore you and decide to look the other way, you can do one of to things. You can choose to get frustrated and act on it, or to ignore it and go on. Although it seems like the second option won't bring you that far at first, and it could make you feel almost insignificant in a way, I do believe it's a healthier way to approach bigger issues and live in general.
I'm not saying you shouldn't express your opinion, I'm actually saying the exact opposite. I'm saying if you do so, do it in an authentic way, without paying to much attention to the noise surrounding it. If you have something to say, just say it, and those who want to hear you will listen. But from the moment you start shouting, that's when you lose everyone's attention, including your own.
Although stopmotion really not is my type of animation, I felt like I had to watch The House because of Emma De Swaef, being one of our teachers at LUCA School of Arts, worked on the project together with her husband.
These 'animated series' feel more like one big stopmotion movie, divided into 3 parts. Every part got animated by different artists, each telling a unique story. The only thing all stories have in common is that they all revolve around the same house 'character'.
Because I'm not really in the right position to judge any stopmotion skills, I'd like to focus more on the storyline and say that although I'm usually not a huge fan of such grim/dark work, there was still something meaningful for me to take away from it nevertheless. Especially the third part (the last one) resonated a bit more with me.
But then if I really had to give a (uneducated) opinion on the stopmotion skills: I'd say that apart from some minor flaws / visible mistakes, which actually tend to be quite charming at times, this is véry great work. Especially knowing that stopmotion is an already extremely tedious type of animation work in the first pace, but then the final results shown in these series are just on an other level when it comes to carefully crafted details, and just the overall visual quality of it all.
If you don't want to watch 'The House' for the animation techniques, at least watch it for the story.
The other day my classmate Jana was messing around in Blender, trying to learn the software.
After a while she stumbled upon this result, which was clearly not her intention, knowing the interface basically crashed and was frozen.
After force quitting and relaunching the software, she was hoping to find her project left somewhat intact due to auto-save, but the cgi gods were just not on her side that day.
But hey, I must say I'm really a fan of this happy little accident, that otherwise would have been lost forever if it wasn't for me capturing it on camera! Thank you Jana for being a daring explorer, and Blender for allowing beautiful mistakes to happen.
Having built a Hackintosh myself, I tend to appreciate the nerdy side of dektop building.
When I stumbled upon this piece by Egor Kraft, visiting the NTAA at Zebrastraat Ghent, I totally fell in love with the way the artwork presents itself to the viewer.
This open-case desktop is part of a larger AI-driven sculpture art installation. Basically, the computer works 24/7 in order to generate ever-shifting 3D face models based on digitally restored greek statues.
In a way the concept feels very close to Memories of Passersby I by Mario Klingemann. But I must say I personally favor the rough, almost cyber-punk'ish esthetic, of this open dektop format over the elegant look of the jugendstil closet, that fully hides the computer. Almost as if the AI computer was not worthy of recognition for its crucial contribution to the artwork.
Last week, when following the Digital Dimensions courses, other students chose to follow a stopmotion workshop instead. They were coached during an intense 2-week period by the famous duo of Emma de Swaef, and her husband Marc James Roels.
Shooting was done in Dragonframe, and later this week the students will have to finish their final edit.
Here's a snapshot of how such a stopmotion setup looks like. This particular project is made by my fellow students and friends Max Ferguson and Miha Reja. Although we differ totally in styles, I appreciate their work ethic and exploring of rather complex but meaningful themes.
Yesterday I was in Mechelen and saw one of my mentors again, Aitor Biedma (Blub VJ), along with many others of my mentor/friends ... It was a good one!
When talking about some movie references with the group, Aitor threw in some must-see iconic works within that specific sci-fi niche.
When mentioning I really like all of The Matrix movies (haven't watched the most recent one yet), he mentioned Animatrix. If I understood it correctly, this would be some kind of animation series detached from the original Matrix movies, but still existing in the same universe. Each episode gets animated by a different artist with a unique style. A bit like Netflix series Love Death + Robots in a way, which I'm already a huge fan of!
Then, when talking about Zuckerberg's awful Metaverse idea, he mentioned Ready Player One. Apparently also a must-watch if you're into that whole real life vs virtual enhancement debate. It's a movie with lots of 80's cultural references, which sounds very fun.
Lastly, I mentioned that I recently recieved the whole Akira Book Series from my best friends for my birthday, which I'm extremely psyched about! Haven't even watched the movie yet, but it seems like it's better to start with the books anyways, so that's cool. Here, Aitor recommended me to watch Arcane. This would also be an animated series combining different styles into one, to portray a dystopian art-nouveau styled future. Sounds interesting!
Last week we attended an introduction to the Digital Dimensions by Alexandra Crouwers, together with the students at LUCA School of Arts.
We got loads of inspiration from online references (mainly YouTube). At some point we dived into the NFT sphere. That's where I realized it must be a huge commitment to be present in that virtual-trading world! Much like building a name on Twitter, or jumping on the Metaverse bandwagon, once you start, I feel like you must go all the way, right?
That's also when I noticed I was doing the exact same thing with Instagram. Following trends, trying to keep up with posting for the sake of posting, almost like screaming into some kind of void at times.
Now, where the Digital Dimensions lectures really contributed, is in confirming that physical/tactile memories tend to stick the most for me! From all the visual references and crazy tools that where almost aggressively thrown towards us students (which was appreciated in a way), for me it was really the books and human interactions that stuck the most in hindsight.
Allow me to share some examples to demonstrate this visceral connection in a few bullet points.
How cool do these books look?! (and this is just their cover)
Try this trippy experience together with some friends. The important part is to actually do it with others, together! To share the same animation simultaneously (but also individually) so to speak.
One of my classmates, Jana, had the brilliant idea to turn learning the blender software into some kind of contest! With the four of us who agreed to participate, we tried to recreate the best Pikachu model possible, in only 15 minutes. After, we let the teacher decide which one she liked the best, and she chose Jana's! But then another classmate, Vic, had the equally brilliant idea to import her model into the Mixamo character animation tool. Here's the somewhat final result ... I totally dig it!
I got selected by the Brussels International Animation Film Festival Anima with my student teaser submission! Multiple art schools participated, including La Cambre, RITCS, HEAJ, and also LUCA.
The idea was to provide a short 20 second intro animation for Anima to use at their showings.
Presenting: We, Aerself, And I, an audiovisual exploration of gender and sexuality through a variety of shapes, shades, and sounds.
Although the starting point for this teaser was LGBTQIA+, the Anima Jury decided to use it under the "Music Videos & Commercials" category. As a VJ working in the music industry, and Motion Designer who worked a bunch in advertising, I'm taking it as a huge compliment! Or maybe just as a funny coincidence ;-)