words and art by w a l t e r w s m i t h

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into abstraction | form and water | a maritime moment in time | patuxent river & chesapeake bay

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This past August I spent my vacation in Solomons, MD and Carolina Beach, NC. A little bit of sailing and power boating with my sister Patricia, her boyfriend Elbert, and his friend Ken. Ken is a retired Naval Officer and owns the powerboat we motored up the Chesapeake Bay and Patuxent River. What a beautiful area, in lower Maryland, rich in nautical and maritime history. Elbert an excellent sailor, is full of knowledge and experience when it comes to sailing. His sailboat, aptly named ‘Pearl’, (my grandmother’s maiden name) is a 35 foot, beautifully well constructed, and seaworthy craft. I am a novice at sailing and had a large learning curve in which to immerse myself in. Along with the task of documenting the adventure, and becoming familiar with the technical and sequential aspects of sailing, I was tasked with contemplating how to transform this beautiful experience into a visual and sonic work of art. The video which accompanies this post is the result of many hours of editing and composing multiple layers of video and audio tracks. Part of my objective was to sustain the fluid and atmospheric elements of sky, land, and water, by superimposing and filtering various effects: Soft blurs float among the forms, while changing glowing hues transform the seascape and sky. And along with the beautiful tranquility of sailing and motor boating the Patuxent River and Chesapeake Bay, we dined at some wonderful eateries. The CD Café being my favorite. I had a wonderful Thai, sea scallop dish with a honey yellow curry sauce with zucchini and roasted garlic and red onions. Delicious. And elsewhere, lots of crab in various forms. And if you ever go to Solomon Island check out the Calvert Marine Museum. There you will find an exciting historical and aquamarine perspective on the Chesapeake Bay region. After the great time on the Chesapeake, I headed down to Carolina Beach, where Elly and I spent a day on a rain and wind-swept beach. Perfect in its isolation, we were the only ones on the beach, except for the feeding seagulls out among the ocean waves.

Into Abstraction | Form and Water

a film by Walter Smith

money | eldonta mcfadden

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My daughter’s brother Eldonta, AKA MONEY is a prolific song writer, rap artist, producer and founder of Platinum Untouchable Records. Based in California  the music is both old-school and on the cutting edge of Rap and Hip-Hop. I was excited to collaborate with him on this video. Visually it is a departure from the abstract forms of  my most recent work in the series “Into Abstraction”, but continues the exploration of multiple layers of video images to construct a cohesive theme.

into abstraction | form and data | on the edge of everything there is | a moment in time we can never bring back

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There is so much one can say about the possibilities inherent in the creative process. Do we move definitely in a pre-determined direction (unwavering, specific in structure), or allow our intuition (and the tool itself (in my case, the computer)) to guide us. Perhaps a little bit of both. Creating contradictions, beauty, and ambiguities along the way: Magic and Lost while searching through memories. Finding that time does not stand still at all, but evolve and return. A returning ecstasy. And so does a work of art. And so to the recollection inherent to its evolution. My video work is a collection of memories, images, and sounds, purposefully or unconsciously contradicting and re-inventing themselves. Disintegrating into loops of color, texture, movement, geometric form, data, time, and space. I want my work to reflect our internal and external existence; to visually and musically create a sense of things happening all at once.

images for android phones | a portrait in reflection

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A Portrait In Reflection continues my focus on images created with Picsart software on an Android phone platform.

images for android phones | a spiral inward | prelude to form and data

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We can only be who we are, and at one point that has to be enough.

In delineated dreams, we search for that which is truly us. And find that we are only ourselves ….

Today I continued to work on my latest video piece entitled Into Abstraction | Form and Data. Hence, the mention of it as a prelude in this post. In the creative process there seems to be a continuing presence of form and the collection of data. Form and data that can be found in the complexity of thought, inspiration, and imagination. It propels us and shapes our day around it. Almost as if it has a will of its own. As it most certainly does: Shaping beauty from the shadows of our subconscious and giving light to our conscious ambitions, ideas, ambiguities, and dreams.

into abstraction | form and place | holding our absence | a returning ecstasy

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“Into Abstraction | Form and Place” continues my exploration of various forms that manifest elements of the surreal, abstract and memory attachments. The piece structure is centered around a time-lapsed progression. It moves from a visual kinetic movement to a slower more meditative movement. The electronic sound scape mirrors this movement with several layers of organic and industrial sounds centered around a continuous ambient drone. Within this complex musical structure, different distinct modalities emerge. And after several minutes of frenetic movement, the sound structure slowly washes away (with ocean waves) into a quieter more delineated infused drone. In each new video in the series “Into Abstraction”, I am attempting to find new ways of manipulating the film software. This process is very satisfying because the possibilities seem endless.

I have been working on this piece for several weeks. And over that time, I found myself contemplating many aspects of my life, as I often do, and searching for visual parallels that may compliment the emotional context of the moment. As in most of my work, I find that I repeat and remix many of my images, sounds, thoughts, and voices. Sometimes I wonder if the emotional connections of the past and the present ever change at all, or just evolve into the future: Evolve into the continuum which is the work. Evolve Into Abstraction, where form and void, form and memories, form and mutation, form and impermanence, form and dreams and form and place become one. Art has a way of giving us a moment of clarity, but does not necessarily save. Our work at times can reveal the life that lives in shadows. But may never quite give us the answers we seek to sustain us. So we are driven to go at it as if there were no history before now.

into abstraction | form and dreams | across the river the city that sleeps with dreams | your world disappearing, a world apart remix


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My latest video in the “Into Abstraction” series, infuses elements of surrealism and is a remix of several images from previous series. The piece also continues the evolving elements of recent images and the examination of memory attachments and the evolution of ambiguity in the psyche. The central theme is dreams; their possessive sensitivity, longing, and their magic and lost. Musically, I have moved away from the “glitch” forms of previous soundtracks in the series, and focused on a more ambient “drone” sound. Again, the complexity of sound is balanced and created with small nuances of processing. Most notably the use of various resonance and pitch, filters, reverb, and overall tonal control.

into abstraction | form and impermanence | what memories and karma may come | a maps, mountains, and trails, remix


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The complexity of the impermanence that fosters ambiguity in our lives. Everything changes except a persistent memory.

into abstraction | form and mutation | a history before now | a life after yesterday


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My series “Into Abstraction” continues with the video “Form and Mutation” – “A History Before Now, A Life After Yesterday”. Like the previous videos in this 2015 series, “Into Abstraction” is an exploration of abstract forms, digital processing and kinetic visual constructs. Each video in the series expresses a distinct form of motion and visual perspective. This new piece, “Form and Mutation” is circular in its movement (the two previous videos were linear). And its emphasis is on the emotional sense of life spinning, evolving, and mutating into new forms of expression and ambiguity. In keeping with my overall process of linking one video to the next, I implore many similar effects and visual elements from previous work into each new piece: Subtle nuances and connectivity is important to the elemental construct; with bold shifting colors, fused layers of imagery, and glowing white highlights being an important part of the process. They, along with my personal subjective themes of memory attachments, also play an intricate part of the surreal and abstract expression found in all my work. Musically, I am continuing to create ambient soundscapes mostly from organic and industrial sources, sound samples, and spoken word. This is a multi-layered aural construct. Dense and complex.

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