Emergence

A short film I made inspired by Steven Johnson’s book “Emergence”. The patterns that emerge from the city are similar to the patterns seen in communities of primitive species like ants.

Sketchbook and initial research.pdf

Regarding “Emergence” I found the meeting with Ed Gray at the GX Gallery to be relevant to my research to see his point of view, as an artist, on representing the people living in the city. Observing his paintings I noticed they were sometimes ruled by an idealistic composition which appeared to be far from reality, probably to give a sense of harmony to his work and have the viewer’s eye dragged around the whole picture. Arranging his characters within an imaginary circle creates a continuos rhythm and balance.
To me reality is slightly different and it is reflected more in Alice Wisden’s “1st September 1939”. This painting I saw at the GX Gallery resembles Charing Cross station during rush hour. The pattern emerging from this image is the same pattern I can see on the streets of London. Everyone walks straight ahead, people do not even look at each other when passing by, but still they are unconsciously aware of your presence. A crowd may form different shapes; what emerges from a pedestrian crossing is a pattern that assumes a herringbone shape. When I experienced busier crossings such as the one in Shibuya and at Shinagawa station in Tokyo the image of a big wave came to my mind. Waiting for the green man on one side of the road, I was standing opposite hundreds of people waiting for the same green man, and then, like a dam bursting under the pressure of the water, the crowd flooded the road. This was my initial vision that I wanted to recreate as a short After Effects animation, where waves of water would have risen from different sides of the road and collide in the middle of the crossing. Would this have been too far from reality and not understood?
Reading “Emergence” by Steven Johnson I came to learn the similarities that link human being self organisation to the one of primitive species like ants. Substituting the green man of the traffic light with an ant was a simplistic but also effective way to communicate this idea. Probably an animation with some special effects would have been more appealing, but I believe my abilities in motion
graphics are still not good enough to create the effect I wanted.

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