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

Posts tagged “Experiment

your world beginning | a history before now

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Day 6 in the “Your World Beginning” series is entitled “A History Before Now.” This film has a more ambient feel to it than the previous “A Life of Contradictions and Disappearing Things. It is sparse in its visual content, while imploring some elements of poetic prose inspired by a fellow poet. It continues the theme of the exploration of daily life, with hints of ambiguity and historical musings as abstraction. Initially, when I created this series, I wanted it to be a distinct leap from my previous series entitled “Your World Disappearing,” giving birth to a new beginning. However, the emotional content that fueled the “Disappearing” series has slowly found its way into this series as well: ‘Everything changes except a persistent memory.’ To some degree, although everything is in constant flux–giving way to things disappearing and beginning simultaneously, there is an ambiguity and mundane existence to it all.

experiment: data complex 9 | a world inside (a zen nature remix) | video art in HD


“A World Inside (A Zen Nature Remix)” is an audio and visual remix of the video piece I composed a few months back entitled “Zen Nature | Landscapes for Well being”. In this remix I added the spinning globe, which I have been featuring in my two previous videos. The emerging global image represents the continuous complexity of societal and existential relationships: In “Data complex 7”, the focused was on social, civil, and political entities. In “Data Complex 8”, I explored emotional ambiguities, abstract thought, and memory attachments as it pertains to the individual. In this piece, “Data Complex 9”, I draw attention to the Earth itself, as a landscape for well-being and Spiritual connection. In the remix, small distinct sound samples were added to the soundtrack, along with poetic thought to the visual construct. The actual visual and aural part of the video ends around the 5 minute mark, with an additional 1:46 seconds of a black screen and silence. “Into creation, into silence”. A moment for the viewer to explore his or her own meditative recollection.

experiment: data complex 5 | a returning place | video art


The journey to silence as visited through “A Returning Place”. Often the road to our true essence is discovered through the meditative path of silence. In that silence, we navigate the past; leaving it behind. We dismiss the anxiety of an uncertain future; freeing us from our thoughts. It is our hope that we find the journey without moving, The one that takes us on the road inward: The present moment, and the freedom through enlightenment to see things as they really are.

This video captures some of the elements of natural and man-made silence: Silent films, Space, singularity, and the journey one takes alone … in this thing called life.

experiment: data complex 3 | nostalgia | video art


The day on the beach brought back memories of beautiful times gone by: She the choreographer and dancer, and he the artist and filmmaker. Together they drifted back to the beginning of their artistic dreams. Fused with the technology of the post-modern world and the collective mindset of a creative construct, they forged ahead into the unknown: History has a way of repeating itself. What is old is new. The same as it ever was. Forever and a day.

experiment: data complex 2 | shipwrecked | video art


Drifting on the endless sea, a Titanic moment: Crushed against the data of memories, hopes and dreams. Cold and icy. Feeling a part of something, in the place of everything, on the edge of nothingness. Falling from the sky with no structure to evolve into. Living in a deep, dark, place masquerading as a beautiful heaven; a post modern world, an urban complexity. Data Complex – Shipwrecked.

experiment: zen nature | landscapes for well being | video art


My “Experiment” series continues with “Zen Nature | Landscapes for Well Being”, a celebration of the beauty of nature and Earth Day. A colorful collage of earth and space; bringing together the compassion of love, life, culture, and soulful melodies for meditation.

“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world”. ~ John Muir

“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children”. ~ Native American Proverb

25 second preview – experiment: zen nature | landscapes for well being


In celebration of Earth Day 2013, here is a preview of my upcoming video from my “Experiment” series entitled: “Zen Nature | Landscapes for Well Being”. It explores the beauty of our earth as well as some of its inhabitants. I have been working on it for the pass week, and will be completing it sometime next week or by the weekend (so keep an eye out for it). It is meditation on Nature; a calming sense of place, discovery and purpose … to love ourselves and our planet.

45 second video preview | data complex


I am presently working on my latest “experiment” video entitled “data complex”. It explores the fusion of data complexities in our society i.e. media, technology, art etc. The structure of the video is based on short video data clips, and sampled audio soundscapes. The audio composition and editing is strongly influenced by music styles such as IDM, Neo-Classical, and Glitch and from such artists as Alva Noto, Steinbruchel, Ryoji Ikeda, and featured in this clip, German Baroque composer Johann Pachelbel and his Canon in D Major.

experiment: miles ahead | video art – short story


There are times when I have a visual dream—in the waking, a collage of kinetic images. And as painful as it may sometimes be, I can but only love…living my art—finding fuel for it in the most unlikely places.


“And lots of it,” interjects First Mate, Jordan Le Blanc.

From below deck, I can hear the above conversation about the trials and tribulations of life at sea. Rasheed, Captain Louis Kirkland, and First Mate Jordan Le Blanc are examining and discussing the rigging on Voyager, an authentic replica of a 19th century gaff-rigged packet schooner. Earlier, Rasheed had been terribly excited after having taken the helm for more than twenty nautical miles. He had come rushing down from his watch shouting….

“I was one with the sea and it was overwhelming! I felt the pulsating power right in my hands!”

He then concluded by repeatedly saying, “Damn that was nice, that was nice!!”

I was quietly impressed, and had nodded my head in approval. That was around 11 a.m. on this, our second day of the voyage. I hadn’t yet taken a trick at the helm. Because I was feeling a little intimated. Instead, I spent some time with the navigation officer learning how to judge winds and currents, and chart Voyager’s course. Our plans are to do three nights and two days aboard the Voyager before heading to Cape Cod and Nantucket. I need this vacation. My personal life is on hold, work is stressful, and my art needs experiences to cultivate inspiration. Rasheed is feeling better, although he still refuses to dine on anything strictly vegetarian. I brought along my JVC HD video camera and Sony laptop. I hope to capture on video, the minimal motion and ambiance of the ocean. I intend to accomplish this by setting up the video camera yards from the shore, on the crest of a dune, leaving the camera stationary. And as John Cage the avant-garde artist and composer, would see it; art by random chance and whatever comes within the scope of the lens. Later I will edit the film down to just under an hour, overlay with images of my paintings, add ambient music, and call it “Oceans of Art.” I am installing this video piece in the vault of the Bank Club located in downtown Philadelphia, with the intention of transforming it into a chill-out lounge space for weary party goers, hipsters, and beak nicks. We left the picturesque town of Mystic, Connecticut just after sunrise yesterday. It was a golden morning and a beautiful start to the day. We sailed the majestic vessel throughout the morning, and afternoon before stopping for a short visit at Block Island. I’ve always been mesmerized by seascapes and landscapes. Drawn to their spiritual vastness, I sometimes find (if it’s a good day) revelation and beauty, hidden … deep inside the soul. When transfixed by such a mysterious place—we question its magnitude. In-turn, we find our very own inadequacies. Usually if I attempt to elevate myself, with pride, by thinking: I can do this … or I can do that … or perhaps … I. Whatever the thoughts may be, I always then, see myself as being very small. Last night our anchored port-of-call was Sag Harbor at which our superb chef prepared steamed lobsters, fresh vegetables and freshly baked pies. Tonight our port-of-call will be Newport–another coastal town rich in nautical history.

“Hello down there.”

The voice interrupting my chain of thought belonged to the distinguished Captain Louis Merchant Kirkland, a tall, white-bearded French Canadian. I found him to be charming and his sense of humor timely. As was his command of the ship. I’m sure he had come to remind me that it was almost time for my watch at the helm.

“Yes Sir!” I replied.

“No need to be so formal my enigmatic friend,” he said with a smile and a gesture for me to remain seated.

“Thank you sir,” I answered.

“You prefer … solitude before company?”

“Well … yes. Is it that apparent?” I asked with a sense of anxiety.

“Unlike your friend Rasheed, you haven’t spent much time with the crew. Is everything okay?”

“No, everything is not okay, I thought to myself. Damn fool that I am—some things never change … like the things created by unwanted experiences and obsession.

“I’m doing fine; I just have a lot of memories on my mind.”

I lied. I really can’t go on like this (too much emotional feeding and Bluefish can be a bad thing (it can be like a school of Swordfish in the side)). But if this is who I am–to think the thoughts that I am thinking? Then redemption and resolution—is to know, that although some loves drown in the embryonic pool of innocence (never swimming its full length)—they are loves just the same.

“Yes … memories, romantic ones I am sure,” said Captain Kirkland, aspirated—his chest heaving. “All the miles of memories that sail on the hearts and minds of men at sea—for the love of their women. There are many adventures one can experience at sea—a litany of memories in which to fill a lifetime of recitals. Let me tell you a few folktales. Starting with the moral certainty of them all…”

“Life on the oceans of the world is sustained by the luck of the draw–same as on land. At times it is called, (in recent history) the ‘American Dream’–the need to discover, possess and to be miles ahead. We find ourselves by looking beyond the impending realization, (everything but the girl)—reaching for it with fervent desperation. At other times it is a sighting too late, and the course not taken. Drifting for what seems like the duration of timelessness on the empty sea of lost love. For centuries man has sailed the seven seas and oceans of the world—in search of…”

He paused, smiled and then continued, “A couple of good stories to tell young seafarers.”

experiment: set the controls | video art

My second video in the “Experiment” series is entitled “Set the Controls”. I worked on the formatting of the video over the last few days. Working mostly at night, I felt driven by the quiet solitude to create noise and kinetic energy visually and with sound. The video itself is a collection of clips from older videos (The Whipping Machine, The World Spins Black | White, Island – Water – Bridge) and new imagery from this past summer vacationing at Virgina Beach. Again, the theme centers around the ideas relating to the Futurism movement of the early 20th century: Modernization, Ambiguity. Complexity. And the fear of things getting out of control. In my work, I like the thought of creating images that juxtapose and provide tension to one another. All the while the soundscapes of cold wind and a distant jack hammer push the tension even further until it climaxes with an atomic blast and a requiem of church bells.

experiment 1:23 2.18.13 | video art

I have begun experimenting with the Avid Studio software. As I move through this experimental process, I would like the work to be influenced by several movements of the Avant-Garde. I am especially fond of the early film works of Salvador Dali, and the exploration of Surrealism, Futurism, and Dadaism. Dada can be defined as: “A European (France, Germany, Switzerland) artistic and literary movement (1916-1923) that flouted conventional aesthetic and cultural values by producing works marked by nonsense, travesty, and incongruity. It is a nihilistic art movement, found mostly in painting, but also explored in film and was based on irrationality; and negation of the accepted laws of beauty”. Futurism is defined as an “artistic movement originating in Italy around 1910 whose aim was to express the energetic, dynamic and violent quality of contemporary life, especially as embodied in the motion and force of modern machinery”. And last but not least, one of my favorite art movements is Surrealism, It has for many years, been a strong influence on the direction of my art. Surrealism is defined as: “A 20th century literary and artistic movement that attempts to express the workings of the subconscious and is characterized by fantastic imagery and incongruous juxtaposition of subject matter”. It should be an exciting process as I remixed old and new work with this in mind.