_hellscape | Princeton University School of Architecture | Critic: Michael Meredith | 2015 | In Collaboration with Robert Becker

Hellscape is a 3 minute video animation, viewed from first person perspective. The intent of the exercise is to understand and exploit the potentials for immaterial objects in digital space. We asked the question “when animated, what does the digital brick want to be?”).

Here, platonic geometries and digital readymades behave irreverently; pulsing, intersecting, changing color, flying, floating, flickering, twitching, and rocking, their textures animating. Some behaviors are shared across multiple disconnected bodies across the scene, forming an implicit network (objects changing color or scale in unison, for instance). The camera frame zooms in and out - sometimes multiple objects are registered, while others, the frame is cropped to reveal only a small edge or surface. The euclidean grid is a recurring theme, flickering between regulating and distorting element. The whole of the constructed scene is never revealed, leaving it to the viewer to stitch the stitched clips together in their minds. A point on this stitching; the temporal narrative structure of the video exchanges linear sequence for montage, where a set of disparate effects and isolated scenes are spliced together to form a continuous whole.

Sergei Eisenstein describes the originator of montage as architecture - he argues that the body’s movement through architecture linearly unveils a sequence of “frames” which, while inert in isolation, in aggregate ‘fix a total representation of a phenomenon’. He argues that the advent of film immobilized the body and substituted it with the eye and mind, which allowed for a multiplicity of phenomena, across time and space, to be stitched together to form a ‘meaningful concept’. Meant to be experienced in virtual reality, hellscape attempts to muddy this dichotomous conception of mobile vs. immobile montage, where the body, mind and eye are simultaneously implicated in the reception of moving image.

_hellscape video.