As we’ve mentioned previously, motion graphics emerged much earlier than you might assume--decades before 3D Studio Max and Cinema 4D. But London-based digital artist Quayola reaches back even further--to the Golden Age of Dutch painting--to make his work, which spins shivering topographies out of paintings by late Medieval greats like Velázquez, Rubens, and Van Dyck.
A recent post on PSFK drew our attention to Quayola’s latest project, a collaboration with Abstract Birds that builds on his affinity for pre-Modern art and music. Partitura (the traditional term for a score in classical music) generates complex abstract visualizations from music. The custom software, built with vvvv (“a hybrid graphical/textual programming environment”) and a bevy of motion graphics programs like 3D Studio Max, reacts to the music by connecting a 3-D model’s modules to audio output run from the popular DJ software Ableton Live. The modules--which run from left to right like an actual score--twist together into an ever-changing helix.
Partitura was built last year, but the software will find new life this month at the French digital art festival Nemo. There, Quayola will hook Partitura up to a live performance of György Ligeti’s sonatas for viola, written in 1994 by the aging Austrian-Hungarian composer (listen on Spotify here). The sonatas are an interesting choice--Ligeti frequently experimented with “semi-tones,” which slightly distort the normal scale by pushing it up a few millimeters. It’ll be cool to see how a modern, dissonant classical piece like Ligeti’s will change the interface, compared with the chilled-out Telefon Tel Aviv track from the video.
Quayola frequently performs live, adapting his custom software to work in the moment. His C.V. is a cool mix of audio and visual performances, with a few dozen commissions from European museums thrown in for good measure. Topologies, a 2010 project for Spain’s Prado Museum, turned two of its collection’s most revered pieces--a 1767 painting of the immaculate conception by Tiepolo and the 1656 Velázquez masterpiece Las Meninas--into bubbling, shimmering topographies of fractals. We tend to overuse the word "hypnotizing" around here, but try not to get sucked into these videos, which are truly mesmerizing.