air water part 2, 1994 (2007 version)
digital video, 3:36 mins
air, water is a series of lyrical and poetic computer-animated studies of the elements air and water. The artist has written software combining mathematical models of different physical phenomena such as gravity, elasticity and aerodynamics to create abstracted simulations of natural phenomena. Although these simulations are relatively simplistic, the motion they exhibit is both complex and naturalistic.
These virtual environments evoke a range of emotional tones. Each animation is a journey through one of these imaginary landscapes. In contrast to most contemporary computer animation, which seems to aspire to ever more dense and spectacular imagery, these works are visually sparse and deliberately simple. The soundtracks, composed by Tony Kastanos, are played by an acoustic ensemble.
air, water was produced in association with
the Australian Film Commission.
It sidesteps the urge to recreate the real
world as digital information and finds virtue
in its limitations. Each of the pieces offers
a journey through an ever-shifting terrain, a
heaving sea defined by coloured checks ...
the simulation of the invisible subtleties of
air by passing paper-thin objects through its
vagrant movements, and finally, capturing
the currents of an invisible sea through the
movement of reed-like lines. All pieces are
constituted by a tracking forward motion, a
relentless and gentle penetration of space ...
the result is a strangely soothing promise of
the digital age. It may remain human after
John McConchie, FilmNews, 1994
The audience is certainly taken on a journey, it is one which is meditative and has qualities that provide a space for the viewer. Such a space is a rare thing with contemporary media and one which the audience certainly appreciated. ... where are these very familiar and yet imagined places? ... it is a very light touch that we are witnessing ... These sophistications and formal qualities ensure this piece’s subverted and re-emergent serenity will remain and recur.
Cecelia Cmielewski, Broadsheet, 1994