Monday, 16 April 2012

Origins - Animated Graphic Notation

The final piece of work and major exhibition piece was an animated graphic notation developed from the map below which details my ancestors births, marriages and deaths. 

These areas of dots were firstly entered onto a spreadsheet, then a document ready for entering into Garageband. 

Each piece of information was turned into a musical note and put into the music programme. As I have said before, I am not a musician, I cannot just sit and play this information. It has to go through many hours or detailed work to get it to appear as a sound piece.

Once entered into the music programme, piano role sheets were printed out, then stuck together to form the story board for the  animator. Here is part of one of those sheets.

Each note had to have its colour and what octave it belonged to, for transferring into his animation programme.

As you can imagine this took a long time with much liaison between us.

I have a belief that within each of us, are miniscule amounts of stardust; trace elements that have come to earth from other systems in the universe. Many belief systems are based on our ancestors being in the heavens, looking down at us, guiding us.

It felt right then, to have each piece of ancestral information displayed as a sequence of star bursts. The task for the animator was to ensure that each piece of information (one data entry note) began at the correct time, in the correct part of the sky (the octave on the stave) and in the correct colour (the coloured thread above each note on the map).

Here are individual stills of one area of star burst. The first is the wire frame still of number 1054, the second the rendered still.

So, to reiterate, every star burst represents a birth, marriage or death. It's colour refers to the coloured thread above that event dot on the Origins map at the top of this page. The placement of each note on the vertical axis depends on which octave it belongs to.

There are 4 beats to a bar and each beat on the horizontal axis represents one year. There are 17 frames of animation per year and each year lasts for 0.68 seconds. The notes run from the year 2009 through to 1797 where the order of the notes (not the music itself) is reversed to finish back in 2009. This ebb and flow of time links to gene inheritance, genetic memory and remembrance.

Gaps between the star bursts represent silence indicating a lack of ancestral events (i.e. no-one was born, married or died). All frames have a black background to them, which ensures that the silence appears as a normal part of the sky and musical sequence.

The animated graphic piece will be added when I have uploaded it to you tube.

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