"TRANSE" - A WILD RIDE FROM START TO FINISH

I started writing a post in July about my experiences with the City of Vaudreuil-Dorion's Natura project which happened in June 2021 but strangely, it stayed in my drafts folder with only a lonely title and no body. I think I had to recuperate, integrate, digest the whole saga for a period of months before I could write about it. 

Well time to get cracking! Here is the gist of how I managed to give life to "Transe". It's obviously impossible to get into all the nitty gritty details of my creative process but this should reveal some interesting tidbits.

I was chosen along with two other artists to conceive a 5 minute video artwork for an upcoming event. Our videos were to be projected on giant screens for about ten days in a nearby park. The other two chosen artists had already done this the year before but the experience was an entirely new challenge for me. 

The city's theme NATURA meant that the artworks had to relate to the natural world in some way. My initial inclination was to do something about flooding since I was very familiar with the phenomenon having gone through two disasters in three years. 

My companion's slides were destroyed in the flood of 2017 but I scanned them nonetheless because the water left seductive patterns on many of the films. The following two digital works below evolved from this slide which is in itself, a beautiful work of art created by "la mère nature".

Flood slide

I eventually decided not to work with the flood theme because living through the experience was stressful and I didn't want to spiral into a deep funk of bad memories during the project. I aimed for a joyful mood but did include one video element in the final work that originated from a damaged slide.

The city showed us was where the screens were going to be installed. The idea was to stretch these between various trees at the 405 Park. There were three options to choose from; we could work with either one, two, or three screens. My cohorts chose the first and last options and I ended up with having to prepare a video for two giant screens 15' x 15' and 8' x 15'. One screen was  bad enough for a neophyte, but two? What was I thinking? 


The city informed us that we would have access to technical support from the library's lab. Nicholas Gagnon, the chief wizard there, was a great source of assistance and knowledge.

I wasn't sure how I wanted to interpret the theme and felt that the best strategy for me was to start playing on my iPad. I created a few "beginnings" that I never used. I moved on to drawing natural elements, first a mushroom, then another in the Procreate application. Fungi with their odd shapes and colours are absolutely fascinating and soon my mind was racing with possibilities.  

The Procreate application records the drawing process in time lapse videos. I didn't have time to master new animation applications or software so I concentrated on improving my elementary knowledge of Keynote which is generally used to create business slide presentations. With these two applications, I sensed I could generate enough material to come up with something interesting.

I also rummaged through piles of stored paper works to find prints that I had done of my feet. I wanted to hint at the act of walking through a dream sequence of natural elements.

Things didn't quite turn out that way. As my mind raced with a deluge of ideas (pardon the flood reference), my foot transformed into a very unusual character.

 
Under the influence of mushrooms, (figuratively not literally), I chose a fungi-inspired shoe to link many of the elements. Funky red footwear appears throughout the final video.


 

The rectangular shapes of these drawings were for the 8' x 15' screen. I had to imagine an interaction happening between both screens and eventually the footman merged with the mushrooms to fit the
15' x 15' square screen.
 

I drew like a madwoman
in Procreate and improvised short complementary videos in Keynote. I had some folders for the rectangular sequences and others for the square ones and hoped to pull all the nuggets together during the editing phase.
 
My vision became clearer as I worked. Vaudreuil-Dorion has a circus tradition which was put on hold during the pandemic. What a better way to revive a much needed "big top" atmosphere than to recreate it on immense outdoor screens. 

The mushrooms turned into an entrance.
 
Fungi Entrance

The title that I chose for the video gave my imagination free reign. Various colourful characters were hatched in the back burner of my psyche. I drew bats, seductive vampires, birds, flowers, and jugglers who whipped about apples (of Adam and Eve fame - a nod to genesis), the planet (our fragile world in this era of climate change) and a vampire head (because why not? Bats are an important barometer of our planet's health while humans are the vampires that are sucking it dry).

Flying sunflowers       

Juggling life
 
Some images were never used in the final cut as we edited at breakneck speed to meet the deadline.
 
Bird with Enoki mushrooms

Vampire with Enoki mushrooms

The Natura project was the apex of my iPad experimentation over the past 10 years. I am well aware that I have only scratched the surface of what digital art has to offer. Man was it fun (and exhausting). I have nothing but respect and feel enormous gratitude towards the City of Vaudreuil-Dorion for this amazing opportunity. It was the dream of a lifetime! 

Photo: Josiane Farand - L'art de capter

 

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