Vast and minute scales

Animated gestural forms connect human anatomy and the global ecosystem:


Minute algae in water and alveoli (air sacks) in our lungs may seem remote from the vast Antarctic sea ice and yet these systems are interconnected. Algae produce the oxygen we breathe. Sea ice production maintains global overturning circulation of the ocean that replenishes life. In the animation, the rhythmic pattern of breath is reflected in the annual contraction and expansion of Antarctic sea ice.

Data: Martina Doblin, Climate Change Cluster, University of Technology, Sydney; Data Centre, Australian Antarctic Division; United States Geological Survey; Nicholas Kiraly
Music: Sophie Green
Dancers: Margaret Bowman, Catherine Magill, Lisa Roberts
Visual stimulus for dance: Gail Kenning
Animation: Lisa Roberts

Presented at Whip It Heffron Hall, Sydney, Saturday 29 October 2011, with improvised music, dance and drawing.
Curator: Catherine Magill.

The animation is a compilation of new and existing work. Each work required some understanding of the processes to be visualised. Below are mainly technical notes with links to further information.

The first section is the first version of the animation Algae dance to variable rhythms, which combines digital tracings of dancers with hand-drawn forms articulated digitally in hierarchical motion.

Dancers improvising in Authentic Movement, and in response to a data visualisation by Gail Kenning, were recorded on video. The video recordings were imported into a time line in Adobe Flash and digitally traced.

Digital tracings were also made of satellite data of changes in the extent of the Antarctic ice sheet over a year.

Tracings were made on new layers in the Flash time line, by drawing frame by frame with a Wacom drawing tablet and stylus.

The Wacom tablet and stylus were also used to draw shapes such as the single frond of the algae Hormosira banksii (Neptune’s necklace) in its mature form.

Hierarchical motion of the frond was achieved by using the ‘bones’ tool in Flash.

Alveoli (tiny sacs in the lungs) were animated through manipulation of the classic ‘tween’ tool in Flash.

About Lisa Roberts

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