- Visual Arts
One day it occurred to me that the entire foundation for our built environment is rooted in various notions of perfection; the perfect strip mall, the perfect modestly priced family car, the perfect microwave. These things are all designed to fill a market niche or replace a product currently filling the niche with a “more perfect” version. It also occurred to me that most of these “perfect things” now begin life in computer-aided 3D modeling - a medium where perfection can thrive without the constraints of gravity, scale or scarcity of resources. In my work over the past few years I’ve used the 3D modeling program Google Sketchup to construct scenes for integration into paintings. Realizing that I had amassed quite a hefty collection of these “perfect objects” I started to think about their life cycle - an object is modeled in Sketchup, prototyped, manufactured, then trashed and replaced by a better object designed in Sketchup. Katabasis is a 40-minute video landscape with live sound accompaniment that moves the viewer though an elaborately constructed Sketchup junkyard to explore the themes of death, limbo, and rebirth.
In various world mythologies Katabasis refers to a trip to the underworld. The journey of Odysseus through Hades and the death and resurrection of Lazarus are classic examples of Katabasis. In my piece the trance-like animation carries viewers through an underworld wasteland of 3D models. Together with the live performance of an evolving musical score, it will create multi-sensory experience that exemplifies this tense liminal space of Katabasis. The score itself will be performed by myself and two other musicians and consists of three distinct movements including: death, limbo, and rebirth. It is a collage of improvised instrumentation, field recordings, and audio loops that form a densely layered soundscape for each movement.
My vision for “Katabasis” is a two-week long tour which takes the performance to 10 cities throughout June 2013. Live recordings of the ever-evolving soundtrack will brand it to a particular venue (and will be part of any later screenings at that location). I plan to make DVDs of the entire performance available at a cost of $20 each in editions of 50 per performance. Instead of the more common practice of selling very limited editions of video art for thousands of dollars each, I’ll be distributing my work in the manner of independent musicians that promotes a more democratic access to video art.
Now I need your help to make this project a reality. Producing such a genre-defying piece of art is not easy and it’s not cheap. To create the appropriate balance between the sound and visuals requires an HD projector that can throw an image 9ft x 16ft. We need a PA system, a mixer, and a live sound engineer. We will also have to rent a van to tour this piece and have gas money to fuel said van. There are about 200 other things we need (guitar strings, instrument cables, microphones, etc.) but I won’t bog you down with all of them. The fact is we need to raise a minimum of $12,000 to make this piece come to life. This is the absolute minimum cost to do this piece justice and tour with it for 2 weeks. Now, the devil is in the details. If we are able beat this minimum goal, additional funds will mean sharper projection, cleaner sound, more performances and the ability adequately compensate other contributing musicians. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my proposal. I am incredibly excited to begin working on this piece and I sincerely hope you carry some of that same excitement after reading this. If so, please consider making a contribution to make Katabasis a reality so I can show you how amazing it really is.
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