Brandon Morse: Procedural animation
The stark videos of Brandon Morse present the viewer with excercises in tension, set tableaux in which structures morph and twist under physical constraints. Stripped-down architectural forms that ought to exhibit the rigidity of highrise buildings instead engage in a tug-of-war, the result of a string simulation distributing kinetic force through a network of nodes.
Morse seems to delight in setting up scenarios where seemingly ordered constructs rapidly degenerate under the influence of virtual force, which can only be observed through the dramatic effects it exerts. The end result is a state of irrecoverable chaos, brought about by causal simulated chain of action and reaction.
Unlike software-based generative artworks that exhibit endless timelines, Morse’s videos (created in the high-end animation package Houdini) display a clear dramaturgy. But rather than being a side effect of their status as “canned” video, the presence of an explicit beginning and end is here part and parcel of the work’s logic, reinforcing the movement towards the inevitable.
Favorite setups include explosions and collapses, dryly observed through an impartial camera that merely records the inevitable. Work titles like Cumulus_1 and Big Bang refer to physical simulations. Others, like Preparing for the inevitable (a particle system tornado bearing down on a wireframe house), are more explicitly apocalyptic. But while the implication of doom is clear, the image is deliberately kept abstract and artificial. Lacking a focus for projected empathy, the viewer is left with the sense of observing a scientific experiment, a computer-generated Armageddon minus the carnage.
Brandon Morse: "¡" (still from procedural animation)
The video shown above was posted on Morse’s Flickr stream as a test of the new Video on Flickr feature. Hopefully more videos will start appearing on the Generator.x Flickr pool as a result, although the Generator.x channel on Vimeo is still our official choice for posting animated work.