The Mylar Topology
Within the field of generative art, there is a tendency for artists to emulate and expand upon naturally occurring processes through digital representation. Paul Prudence is an artist concerned with using digital tools to create immersive, visual, and sonic experiences that evoke and displace feelings of naturally and mechanically occurring processes. While in his most recent work, The Mylar Topology, Prudence focuses on organic shapes and movements, many of his other immersive, improvised performances focus on more alien and digital movements. Much of Prudence’s work is created in the visual programming platform vvvv allowing him to improvise the audio and visuals in real time. They are often shown in immersive domes or panoramic views to heighten the audience’s relationship with the environments he creates.
The visuals used in the performance of The Mylar Topology range from thin, spine like interconnected patterns to globular reflections. These abstract, organic movements mimic the liquid reflections produced by the reflective qualities of Mylar, alluding to the oddly natural qualities of this fabricated material. During the performance clips, the camera view heavily zooms in on these forms, bringing the viewer into an intense immersion with the geometry. This effect leads to the patterns appearing both micro and macroscopic. The audio enhances the powerful pull into the space that is enforced by the visuals. With long, low, droning notes, the audio sounds as if it is also a vast landscape surrounding the audience.
The creative catalyst that brought about this groundbreaking work for prudence was Ira Cohen’s experimental film The Thunderolt Pagoda. This early abstract, experimental film is completely composed of video reflected on Mylar. The results are disturbingly distorted scenes that morph from recognizable figures to distorted blobs. Compared to the Mylar Topology the film is far more recognizable, often showing distorted forms of humans and faces. However, the way that the reflections behave is similar in viscosity and shape
In both of these pieces the artists seemed to be thinking of dangerous distortions that can occur from looking through various fabricated forms of mirrors or windows. Cohen focused on the new technologies of video recording, using mylar to distort these images and capture them as something that is uncanny yet surreal. Prudence emulates and expands on this notion while touching upon the increasingly blurred lines between reality and technology, creating an experience that appears to be reflected, and organic when in reality the entire experience is digitally generated. Nothing that is tangible or real is reflected in the visuals of the piece. The piece just mimics the reflectivity of certain materials. This is a direct relation to the way that everything we view through the window of technology is not tangible of real, but just a reflection of a person, scene, or object that exists in the real world. In this way Prudence is using technology in powerful ways to critique advances and relationships within technology itself while relating and expanding upon earlier artistic pursuits.
Creative Applications: Greg J. Smithhttp://www.creativeapplications.net/vvvv/sinuous-flow-gelatinous-form-paul-prudences-mylar-topology/