maisie newman & Rowan Evans
15:44 (2015, approx.15 minutes)
Listening through speakers or headphones is recommended.
15:44 is a cyberpunk liturgy to disembodiment and digital apparition. A collaboration between digital artist Maisie Newman and poet / composer Rowan Evans, the film combines poetry, 3D animation and original music. It was first commissioned by Mercy and Penned in the Margins as a live performance for the EVP Sessions, Shoreditch Town Hall Basement, November 2015.
Developed in response to a fear of occupying simulated spaces, encountering digital objects and the empty field beyond their periphery, 15:44 interrogates how the body interacts with digital structures that perform without an identified user. Through the vocabulary of ritual, it encourages an encounter between the viewer and a body of light. Created with Blender software, Newman’s animation uses geometric construction and shifting textures to explore the dismantling and re-emergence of form, disorientating ‘our faith in a single plane’. The viewer moves beyond the body into the unknown dimensions of a simulated space, encountering a digital apparition which responds to itself by continually changing in form. We become conscious of the performativity of this apparition as it begins to replicate – and learn from – an awareness within its environment, drawing the viewer away from their physical location.
Simultaneous to this process, Evans’ text draws on spatial theory, religious scripture and science fiction to offer a lyric response to fear and disembodiment in a virtual field, spoken by two alternating voices. This recorded vocal trace parallels the development of the animation and generates a conscious presence of its own, as the voices feed into one another across the stereo field. Music and sound move between ambient drone, post-rock guitars and minimal electronic composition, underscoring and amplifying the image.
Maisie Newman and Rowan Evans are artistic co-directors of Fen, an interdisciplinary performance collaboration based in Bristol. fenbristol.com
Maisie Newman is a digital artist with a focus on 3D environments. Her work is concerned with cybernetic systems and their application to contemporary culture. Maisie also works as a theatre director and movement artist.
Rowan Evans is the author of returnsongs (Wide Range, 2012), freak red (Projective Industries, 2015) and ODE RHIZOME MOUNTAIN SONG (Moot Press, 2016) and co-editor of Moot Press. He composes and produces music for performance, theatre and other media.