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Systemic Sky Extended Mix Video


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Video stills from Systemic Sky Extended mix installed at 500x gallery Expo 2008 Juried show

January 2008
Expo 2008 Juried Show
Systemic Sky is at the 500x Expo 2008 juried show : Jan. 12 - Feb. 2.

Our technology driven consumer culture is trapping us in a prison of our own creation. The technology that is supposed to free us has become our master. People have become commodities that are milked for their time and economic resources by governments and global multinational corporations. We are herded into boxes to drain us of our time and resources.

Systemic Sky is a symbolic representation of the battle between nature and modern western culture. The sky represents nature and the algorithm represents technology driven culture. In Systemic Sky the organic shapes of the clouds are in constant conflict with the systemic algorithm that subdivides the sky and attempts to impose rigid order.

Systemic Sky from Don Relyea on Vimeo.

These are some stills from Systemic Sky, a new HD video art project for this years Victory Media collection downtown. I got the idea for this piece while standing in the plaza looking up at the 50ft screens on the sides of the buildings and I wanted to make a piece that had a connection to the sky above the screens. For downtown this piece consists of two synchronized 3.5 minute videos that will play opposite each other on the plaza super screens.

This is my first full HD video (1920x1080) project and it required me to put some workflow processes in place. I had 2 dual core PCs processing video most of the time the last 2 weeks before the deadline. Unfortunately a lot of the mid day skies had to be pre-filtered to remove haze from ozone and pollution. The pollution worked in my favor during the sunsets and sunrises making the skies a very rich saturated orange. The hardest part of working with full HD is not being able to preview the work at normal speed in full HD. I could burn the renders straight to blue ray disc but at 17 dollars a preview that I ended up rendering out the segments as 720p mpeg 4 videos to fine tune the animation.

I collected about 12 hours of HD video of clouds and wrote a program to process the video. The source video was edited and sped up to leave 3.5 minutes of video to be processed by the program. The program manipulates the existing frames and abstracts them using some square drawing and scaling routines. It also draws vector shapes over the abstractions that are assigned velocity information based on the movement of the clouds. Invisible objects flock across the screen avoiding circular vector shapes and leaving a trail of vector lines while emitting bubble particles. Lastly the original video still of the sky is overlayed back into the final version of each frame with a lightest pixel routine giving the abstraction its context in reality.

For Victory Media Network I compressed the running time of the video down but I think I am going to make a slower version that may be more appropriate in a gallery setting. I think I am going to recruit a friend to help collect more sunrise and sunset video and collaborate on the slower version.