Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Ecstasy Trilogy

Here are three ambient movies that I put online recently, each of them about 30 minutes long: "Mouse Pointer Feedback Ecstasy", "Arboreal Ecstasy", "Symmetric Jellyfish Ecstasy". Wow, 90 minutes of ecstasy?

Ecstasy is not something we usually encounter in our daily lives, and different people have very different ideas about what it is. I just saw that Wikipedia has three different definitions!

The effect of the videos on the observer will vary, but all of them slow down time like the motion of liquid in lava lamps, or like Marian Zazeela's extremely slow ornamental videos to La Monte Young's drone music.

For the MTV generation that is used to very fast and hectic cuts, this will be unbearable to watch :)

1. Mouse Pointer Feedback Ecstasy

I used a toy microscope and filmed the microscope output on the screen - I pointed the microscope to its own images. This creates a video feedback loop, resulting in all sorts of effects. Because nothing much happens when filming an empty screen, resulting in more of nothing, I chose to film the mouse pointer from very close. Some postprocessing was applied (mainly, slowing down). The music is ambient music that I played on synthesizers and tape delays, back in the mid-eighties.

2. Arboreal Ecstasy

This was the first video designed to use as a backdrop for Georgina Brett's set on my livelooping festival from last April. I filmed these trees out of my car while driving through forests in Washington and Northern California (usually, Sabine was driving and I held the camera). Postprocessing: Slowing down and some motion blur, and a mirror effect at the bottom of the video, to take out the street that was visible in the original. The mirror creates a nice effect that looks like a reflection on water.

I chose Georgina's piece Leanate as soundtrack for this, and I slowed it down considerably using Paulstretch. Then two weeks before the festival it turned out that someone else had also planned to use trees for a backdrop video, so I dropped this, and created something new for Georgina:

3. Symmetrical Jellyfish Ecstasy

I had filmed these amazing creatures in an aquarium in Oregon. Postprocessing included slowing down, changing the colors, and introducing symmetry. The music I chose for this imagery consisted of a loop I had created a while ago (I have forgotten in the meantime how I did it); during the piece, several instances of this loop, running at different speeds, get superimposed.

Georgina's gorgeous set with the jellyfish video behind her can be watched here.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Locus Amoenus II

Sunday, 6th of November: an expedition to one of my secret favorite places near where I live :) I spent an hour lying on a meadow in the sun, no jacket, just a t-shirt. It was so warm and relaxing that I almost fell asleep. If this is the climate change, it can come :)

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Ladybug Chapel

Her birthday, a day off together, the sun was shining and it was very warm for an end-October day. We went to see an unusual little chapel on a field somewhere west of Cologne. It was designed and built by Swiss star architect Zumthor for a family of farmers who felt grateful for a long and good life, and wanted to build a chapel.

We were not the only visitors on this wonderful day. We would have loved to have this very unusual place for us alone for a while, but so did the others. Maybe I'll eventually come back here on a grey day outside the school holiday period.

The building is shaped like a tent, originally built out of 112 spruce trunks with layers of concrete on top. When it was finished, a drying fire burnt inside for three weeks. The trunks dried off the concrete and could be taken out. The walls on the inside, under the open roof, still show the shapes of the trees.

Lots of glass tubes connect the dark interior to the outside, creating dots of light in the walls. Sitting on the tiny bench beside the candles, it was totally quiet. The place has a very special atmosphere, but I found that I felt much more in a meditative mood outside, on top of the open field near the chapel. Somehow it seems to be slighly unsettling to me to sit in a dark little room with no way to see if any other people are approaching. Some part of me feels safer alone on a hill where I can see in all directions.

For some reason, there was an invasion of ladybugs, flying around and sitting on the concrete of the chapel, hundreds of them.

We walked through a village nearby that turned out to be less interesting than we had hoped, but at least they had very good cake on offer.

In the evening, some shopping and dinner in Cologne. We saw the first signs of Christmas approaching, but also of the carnival season that officially starts on November 11. A big thing in Cologne, even more important than the puppets of the classical Hänneschen theater.

A stroll down the Rhine. We were too tired already to take a closer look at the amusement park on the other side. A nice day out!

Friday, 16 September 2011

Full of Love

Another week with 100+ people in this place that I've written about several times before. We had a full schedule and very little time but I managed to take a few walks, some of them in the late evening, walking with a moon shadow. I don't know if these photos manage to give an impression of the incredible beauty of this place. Especially the sunny September days are breathtakingly beautiful here.

The teachings and exercises were about topics that I won't try to describe here in detail, but some of it had to do with the source of intelligence, as described in Almaas's book about "Brilliancy". And connected to that, complex stuff such as the oedipal complex and how it influenced our capacity to feel and express passionate love, or our tendency to sublimate this love into ways that were less difficult in the contact to our parents. Many participants, including myself, had very moving experiences of deep love. Amazing what capacities are waiting to be uncovered in us.

And no, even if these retreats take place in a Christian monastery, this stuff doesn't have anything to do with Christianity :)