Wednesday, December 28, 2016

UMASS Finals Film Project: Smattering Thoughts Also Flow

Scroll down to watch the film: Smattering Thoughts Also Flow

There's a number of things I actually DID NOT get to do with this film, animation wise, that i would have lived and wanted VERY BADLY.

I COULD NOT find ANYONE to actually help me with the new version of Adobe After Effects to get the 3D animation stuff done for animating a simple butterfly. NOT A SINGLE PERSON would help me, nor did they understand the NEW version of After Effects.

I actually composed this whole ambient song JUST for a specific part of my film:

I also shot a LOT of footage to go with it which I wanted to incorporate the 3D animation of  butterfly with. there was LOTS of symbolism happening.

But, there was at least 15 individuals that would NOT answer my messages because they had some petty beef with me for being registered Green Party (AKA "Green Rainbow Party" in MA) and NOT voting for HRC on informed principle, or they mistook my messages to mean something else politics related when I was asking about programing coding for the video program. virtually EVERT allegedly teacher or guru on YouTube that published tutorials online claiming to answer any and all questions about After Effects would NOT REPLY to me on YouTube and Twitter. NOT A SINGLE REPLY since October. 1 of my good friends from WAY back, to this day, still has NOT even opened my FB message since I sent it in November. That NEVER HAPPENS if u knew who I was talking about, who's like The Godfather of tech help especially all things animation and graphics. OUCH!

Murphy's Law is a SERIOUSLY REAL THING. So I DID have a number of set-backs with producing my film.

My stress level was THROUGH THE ROOF trying to get it done.

A photo posted by Kandice Kathleen Zimbleman 任思麒 (@blackunigryphon) on

A photo posted by Kandice Kathleen Zimbleman 任思麒 (@blackunigryphon) on

I can't even tell you HOW MUCH TIME I LOST due to persons' own private pet political baggage. I really felt that I deserved a lot more time to work on my final which I DID NOT RECEIVE. There were TOO MANY setbacks, no-shows, people being late or not showing up, computer problems were a MAJOR PROBLEM. Things would work, then NOT WORK. this often happened due to Adobe updates. It was THE WORST. But, other times, videos would render out fine, then stop working.

There's also QUITE A BIT OF ARTWORK that DID NOT make it into the film... I had to cut so much stuff out, and re-cut and re-edit stuff. A major reason I couldn't include this artwork was due to the lack of knowledge and help with Adobe After Effects.

I also had a an entire video shoot, that I booked, that was completely fucked up because my kid kept also dying every week of blood issues. EVERY FRIGGIN' WEEK! at least TWICE a week since September. And, LITERALLY as soon as finals were DONE she was FINE. WTF!?

A photo posted by Kandice Kathleen Zimbleman 任思麒 (@blackunigryphon) on

Anyways, the film has quite a lot of Taoism in it, and philosophy. It's an art film.

There's a lot of puns & word play on Chinese words either by the way the sound, or the way they are written. Etymology stuff. This sort of thing is very common with Taoists, philosophers, zen practicing persons, and sometimes Confucianism. An entire video shoot done in the shooting room had to be completely scrapped, and the calligraphy part was re-shot so many times, on different days and locations that I lost count. Much of the Chinese Etymology won;t make sense if you're not bilingual in English & Chinese. Altho' I felt adding subtitles IMMENSELY detracted from the performance of the calligraphy story, I HAD TO INCLUDE the subtitles because it otherwise would NOT make any sense to an English speaking person with no knowledge of Chinese.

There's so much actual information IN THAT part that will MOSTLY be over the heads of MOST people whom have not studied philosophy, Taoism, Zen, or are at least unfamiliar with figures like Bruce Lee, or Alan Watts. It's literally about 5 years of thorough self study into these toppics at home, and I've barely scratched the surface.

I actually enrolled at  UMASS Boston majoring in Philosophy, and I almost TOTALLY dropped out for medical reasons, including physical injuries, pain, and stress related problems. But, I stayed enrolled to finish my Video class, and my instructor actually encouraged me to stay in school, switch my major back to art, and also invited me personally to attend a brand new class he made which included animation. I am also going to work on an animation project for him and the school next semester.

Here's the film:

There are SO MANY layers of meaning and meanings in this film.

"Flow" is a big symbolism for me, and also in Taoism. It mentions the flow of Fire, Air, Water, Earth (elements). I believe that MOST people ONLY exclusively think of WATER regarding flow, and SOMETIMES air. AIR is a BIG ONE for me. The BLACK FEATHERS FALSE EYELASHES are especially meaningful for me. They not only represent AIR, but they are also BLACK which is YIN (From the Toaist concept of Yin-Yang). Yin is the feminine symbol generally. the way you KNOW THIS is that it had THE WHITE DOT or "Moon" on it. Moon is a feminine symbol. The WHITE side is the YANG or generally Male side with the BLACK DOT on it.

But, usually when you go on Deviant Art they get it COMPLETELY backwards in Western art and depict the White side as female. 

See?: A, B, C, D

Don't feel bad if you didn't know this because I also didn't even learn this until about 2004-ish.

Batting the eyelashes also represents the fanning of air, or the movement of AIR, hence air flow.
My Fursona is the Black UniGryphon, which is also a shape-shifter. Shape-shifting is also called "morphing" or "meta morphing" which involves changing from 1 form or shape into another, like a butterfly.

There is a Christina Aguilera video called "Fighter" in which she uses this kind of symbolism to change, transform, etc. including butterflies/silk-worm moths, feather eyelashes, and black to white cycling transition as character motif. It also incorporates a dance motif. The lyrics of the song also tell about overcoming hardships, and especially overcoming a psychopath abuser, or perhaps the cruelty of the world.

The cellphone bit part was actually an homage to 1 of my dance teachers who's band created an INCREDIBLE music video which was paid for by crowd funding of the fans. I wanted mine to be more awkward with the long extended pauses, but I had to cut it down a lot. The song/video is called "Revival" which is full of all kinds of beautiful art, symbolisms galore, and the doll/puppet dancer is my dance teacher, Zoe.

I actually made a number of butterflies, but I could ONLY USE 2 of them for the film.

Each butterfly was hand made using markers in my sketchbook. The actual sketchbook I used was a throw away sketchbook from drawing classes at UMASS Boston when The Art Department was seen by students as a way of getting credits and NOT taken seriously, which greatly offended the Art Faculty Teachers. They all revolted in around 2015-2016 and forced the changes for art classes being for serious Art Majors only, and creating Workshops for art for anyone else. Since there was a number of stacks of sketchbooks strewn throughout the Art department in various drawing classrooms, and they were about to be dumped, my spouse was tipped off by some art teachers to take his fill of as many as he wanted. So, during the summer, I made a trip there myself, and filled my backpack with discarded sketchbooks which were FULL of blank pages. Many of the sketchbooks were of high quality EXPENSIVE paper. I needed sketchbooks to practice my Croquis gesture life drawings. But, since many of the books were of such high quality paper I saved some for my own personal use.

I don;t always like using inks for drawing. But, i do enjoy using professional graphic art markers. I'd contemplated dropping out of UMASS in October and almost completely did. But, I'd decided to participate in #Inktober for the first time ever in hopes of using the artwork to experiment with at UMASS for my video class. I's originally created the Forbearance/Endurance Butterfly which has Chinese calligraphy in it.  This character comes from Confucianism which usually is NOT my favorite. I prefer Taoism ideology by Laozi (Lao Tsu). However, I DO like this concept, and it's popular with Japanese Zen people.

The 2nd Butterfly is Task/Duty and they are both called "Ren". "Ren" is my Chinese surname in my Ming Zi.

This is also hand made with vintage professional graphic art markers from 1999.

"Ren" sounding words became a huge theme in the project, but i also noticed several similarities in how the words were written.

Anyways, It would've been different had I been able to do the 3D animation bit. But, oh well! I had a whole lantern video set that was perfect for it! But, whatever!

Why the ripple?

Well, several reasons. Is does fit well WITH the whole Taoism and FLOW. In Western thought "Air" symbolizes "thoughts, ideas, the mind, etc." and "Water" represents "emotions & feelings". But, in Chinese Water can actually mean an number of things, and especially money. Why? I have no idea. But, in Chinese "Air" can mean anything from nothingness, emptiness, energy, qi, a number of other meanings I don't even know. At the bottom of the character for endurance/Forbearance is the character for "heart" (which also has other meanings, including referring to the mind in old Chinese) and Traditional Chinese medicine uses the art of checking the pulse of the patient. At the top of the character is the symbol for blade which is different from the character for knife because blade refers to  part of the tool which cuts.

I could go on and on about these symbolisms. But, the reason I chose to experiment with RIPPLES on BUTTERFLIES is a VERY specific one.

In 2001 I went to a concert in Atlantic City at, believe it or not, THE TRUMP TAJ MAHAL. Not even making it up! The concert was of Kelly Chen, whom was a favorite of mine at the time.

Kelly Chen Concert Ticket 2001

During this show, there was this incredible video art of butterflies using Adobe After Effects ripples, and I'd always wanted to create my own version. It just looks really weird! I didn't ant the butterflies to look like real actual butterflies, which was WHY I used markers. I wanted them to LOOK LIKE ART. The ironic thing was that no matter how stylized I made them look, a number people thought they were REAL butterflies when I was working on it!

I got SO many compliments on the butterfly animations I made.

When I was doing the arrangement for the ambient song, I was originally planning on making it be a 303 Acid song. FOR REAL. But, when I took out the beats, and slowed the tempo, and just ended up with the ambient sound it worked a lot better, and despite my stubborn ego, I threw out the techno and went full ambient.

It would've ended up more along these lines, only different:

You can hear how it sounds kind of like water ripples, or a flowing river, or brook.... Very 1980s-1990s vibe...

I programmed and modulated the music myself.

But, scrapped it for my butterfly animation. There's some 303 Acid at the end tho'.

As for my motivation for the actual FLOW of the ambient composition, I have a few. I wanted something eerie and weird, sort of like X-FILES, but I'd lost all of my old stock audio this year due to a malware virus. So, i fell back onto some old stuff that i knew worked, to save time trying to experiment too much n force stuff to work. Time wasn't something I had a lot of, especially if ur kid keeps almost bleeding to death.

So, I went with sonar and heartbeats.

It's 1 of those things I find always works. It's not anything new, and I've seen it done over & over. But, if you want some of my favorite examples, then strait from the 1990s here they are:

BTW, the English versions DO NOT mean the same things in the lyrics as the original German.

And, since we're already on the topic, of all things inter connecting... since I already had a Trump connection in here, weirdly... let's double down and go with more Butterflies connected to this, since we're on a weird etymology, and word plays:

About 50 seconds into the video after she's talking about butterfly motifs " ein Schmetterling" she starts the song.

As for the Philosophical reference to Heraclitus, it was a kind of Zen joke of sorts, since if you've ever attended zen gatherings in person in which u do nothing but sit and breathe, before hand they/we often blabber on about DEATH in words that seem rather morbid, but are actually almost like a joke, and much of zen end up becoming a jokes, nonsense on purpose, and abstract things. I have no way to explain any of this, because it's not explainable. Heraclitus was the pre-socratic philosopher whom came up with the first version of Monism and the line about "You can't step into the same river twice". There are so many things which Heraclitus came up with, philosophically, that is so many ways it sounds almost exactly like what Laozi described in the Dao De Jing (Tao Te Ching) book about Taoism. Only, the weird thing was Heraclitus concluded that everything was made of FIRE! XD Oh, man, that's SOOOOOO ZEN!

Monism was the ancient Greek version of what Eastern thought often refers to as "Oneness".
"Mono" = "One" + "ism"
So, you could also called it One-ism! LOL! 

It somewhat reminds me of a theory about electrons, which "pop in and out of existence". the theory goes that ALL electrons are ACTUALLY the exact SAME electron simultaneously, and the seeming appearance of "popping in and out of existence" while in motion, is actually it existing everywhere in space simultaneously, but we only perceive it as popping in and out of existence in other places, because space doesn't actually exist, and it's the same actual electron. This kinda makes me rethink the concept of electricity (also a flow) which is a current (a flow term) in which electrons move through a  conductor.

Some of his ideas were wacky n weird, n way out there! But, very fascinating.

Anyways, if you don't know my Monad Migraine story, let's just forget about it. it's a long story.

But, in my several year search for nailing down the truth, and the origins of THE MONAD I finally found it, after years of searching in Heraclitus. Ironically, it reminds me a lot of electrons in an atomic structure. I'm not really an expert in Heraclitus nor Monism, so, don;t take my words too seriously.

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