THE MAKING OF
The abstract narrative was born through a time of uncertainty, loss, and self-discovery. I had the amazing opportunity to study animation in Florence, Italy at SACI (Studio Art Center International) in Fall 2013. During one of the many wakeful moments of that trip, I came upon Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time. In it, the protagonist returns to his childhood home and remembers a long forgotten memory after taking a bite out of a madeleine cookie. This story struck a chord with me. Being away from home from the rst time, I was on a constant search for what defined my existence in the face of an ever-complex world. The more I searched, the more I realized how much our memories make up who we are, at a conscious and subconscious level. As we grow older, our old memories are buried deeper and deeper until something or someone causes them to be unearthed and relived once more. This second-time- around experience can be beautiful and quiet, yet at the same time can be debilitating and heart-breaking. Remembering something you don’t realize you have forgotten is an unavoidable and somewhat tragic part of growing older. This moment of re-discovery paired with our human desire to recover something lost is something I wished to explore in an art piece, which ultimately de ned the story arc of Ricerca.
When I was building the story of Ricerca, I wanted the structure of the lm to reflect my Buddhist ideologies. I envisioned the entire experience to have a constant, steady flow and built the narrative so that there was no clear beginning or end. The entire 12 minute experience loops endlessly and depending on when viewers entered or left the room that is when their narrative started or ended.
It was important to me that the installation experience had this aspect of self-actualization. The beauty of experiencing an installation is being able to explore at your own pace and volition. This to me is more powerful than any film structure. Being aware of your body within an imagined space and what your presence brings into the piece creates an incredibly personalized and intimate viewing experience. In Ricerca especially, the installation invites viewers to enter into a meditative state, allowing viewers to develop their own ruminative journey within the story presented.
This film is experienced on five different projection screens in a gallery space with custom-designed surround sound, effectively creating a space for people to be immersed and actively participating in their own individual experiences of searching through time.
The technical set-up involved 5 custom-built rear-projection screens, 5 short-throw 8k lumens projectors, 5 mono speakers on top of each screen and 3 stereo speakers in the corners of the room, and 1 high-powered computer to run it all.
For Ricerca, I strived to create textural, complex, and experiential three-dimensional aural world for the piece to exist in, rather than creating a score which mimics the piece. The inspiration and philosophy for this score came, in large part, from the work of John Cage. His work 4’33”, in particular, was of critical importance. The famous piece, a performance of silence for 4 minutes and 33 seconds, sought to draw attention to the sounds that surround us that we might not pay attention to. The squeaking of concert hall seats, uncomfortable coughs, the unwrapping of lozenges, or any sounds that may happen unintentionally that we may not pay attention to or care for, were the music of 4’33”. He wanted to point out that there is a whole world of music happening around us at all times if we only stopped to listen. During the preliminary discussions about this piece, Yo-Yo and I talked about doing away with the prioritization of a single direction, which is inevitable in traditional lm, in favor of a piece where all directions held importance. By incorporating everyday sounds–such as ambient urban sounds, the hum of a street light, and the sounds of wind chimes–alongside traditional instruments and synthesized sounds, I sought to draw the attention of the audience to the beauty and complexity of the world of sound which so often goes unnoticed.