Animated dance planning with Where Memories Sleep choreographer Connor Masseurs today as we look over the model for the @patakaartmuseum installation in December.
A magic moment from rehearsals with principal dancer Aroha dancing with the pre-recorded Jarrod.
Shot at Cape Armitage, Antarctica with the research divers from the Korean Polar Research Institute; Sanghee Kim and Hyunjin Kim.
Mid-way through the production I conceived, shot and did a rough edit of an introduction sequence shot
in a parking building. Although this was a massive undertaking, I later discarded this approach for many reasons. Initially, I was attracted by the entirely human-made nature of the parking building constituting an antithesis
of wilderness but with a physically had a similar starkness to the Antarctic landscape. I saw this as a robust narrative device to represent the protagonist’s journey from the urban to wilderness. I took a more cinematic approach to the sequence thinking that this would reinforce the transition to the very graphic style of the following sequences.
Although I was relatively pleased with all the design, cinematic and dance aspects of this sequence, feedback from students at a critique reinforced my concerns that the narrative had flaws. C'est la vie. Such is the creative process.
Today we did lighting tests in the Massey University Wellington parking building with the talented Pheobe Smith showing us how it is done.
The penguin gang costumes strongly draw inspiration from Japanese streetwear, being surreal, edgy and eccentric. Strong shadows and oversizing create graphic silhouettes that are like the penguins they represent - they have a playful, inquisitive attitude. I describe them as confidently insecure, like boisterous misguided teenagers. There is a strong black and white colour theme with striking makeup developed in collaboration with makeup artist Renée McCarthy.
To help the dancers develop the choreography, each penguin was given a unique personality that the dancers interpreted through movement.
In the full-dome production of Where Memories Sleep these eccentric characters appear mostly as silhouettes with only glimpses of them in full makeup. In future productions, they may perform as live dancers moving in and out of the glacier set.
We're totally stoked with the concept illustration Ruben O'Hara did for the project. It depicts the journey of Polynesian explorer Ui-te-rangiora in the year 650 (that’s hundreds of years before Kupe came to NZ). He sailed south far enough to encounter icebergs! In my books that makes him the fist Antarctica scientist and a key inspiration for the project
The development of the glacier set. Constructed of plywood and stretch fabric, iterative prototypes were made to explore materiality and suitability for projection (a balance between light transmission and avoidance of visible “hot spots” caused by the projectors). The final configuration is specific to the projectors to allow for the divergence of light from the lens.
A snapshot of the concept sketches and models used to explore and test various installation directions. Some were discarded while others were retained as potential future manifestations for the project. This process ensured that the modular approach of the narrative elements would work across a variety of scenarios.
The bottom image shows how we made a scale model to resolve the unique spacial issues of the Space Place full-dome.
This allowed me to address the challenge of getting enough throw for rear projection without eroding space for the audience. The final solution uses two large mirrors to halve the throw distance.
A bit of Antarctica fun for a Friday.
One of the first things you do when you visit Scott Base in Antarctica is to go “field training” where you learn survival techniques and spend a night camping in -20ºc.
After two hours driving in the Hagglund tracked vehicle we arrived at our camp site with Mt Erebus standing guard. We slept in tents very similar to those that Scott used and made a cooking area with blocks cut from the snow. The Field Trainers from Antarctica New Zealand were superb. That wonderfully New Zealand combination of friendly and relaxed but totally on to it and experienced.
So join Warren and I on a very quick, lighthearted look at camping in Antarctica.
A captured moment at Cape Evans - Warren recording the sound of flags in the wind then modifying the sample in his studio as part of the Where Memories Sleep sountrack.
A repost from 2016
Warren played a short gig at the bar in New Zealand’s Scott Base in Antarctica as part of our visit there. This is a short sample of what he played. Sean Tracey joined us from McMurdo Station (the American base) to play harmonica.
It was magical moment at the base with most of the personnel crammed into the small bar with guests from the nearby McMudo Station. Huge thanks to Scott Gilbert for bringing over the guitar etc.
A repost from 2016
We've made it - Antarctica and back.
A real highlight of our expedition to Antarctica was camping out on the ice with a team of scientists/divers at Cape Evens. And a highlight of that highlight was when we dropped a GoPro down one of the dive holes to get a glimpse of the world under the 2m thick sea ice.
Little did I know that seconds before I pulled the camera up a Weddell Seal cruised by to check out the rope (this footage has been edited because it sat on the bottom doing very little for a while).
Earlier that day Warren had dropped a hydrophone down the hole to reveal the constant chatter of the seals – wait until you hear what he captured! The background audio on this pales in comparison.
The divers cut a hole through the ice using a “heat drill” and park a modified shipping container over the hole to give them a sheltered work area.
Weddell Seals are now my favourite animal!
Not long after we arrived at Scott Base, Antarctica my project partner, Warren Maxwell sang a stunning waiata to mark “International singing day”. Purea Nei by Hirini Melbourne