Kit Webster’s enigmatic audiovisual installations push through the boundaries of technology and art. His digital sculptures and site-specific projections create environments which are completely immersive to those viewing them. Kit will provide visuals to create an evolving on-stage environment for Action Bronson and Dirty Projectors at Sugar Mountain 2013 >
DG – Your experiments in audio-visual aesthetics have created some fascinating works. Enigmatica is a stunning piece, could you let us know a little bit more about how it works, and how your idea came about for it?
Kit Webster – Enigmatica started out as you mention, an experiment. The design of the multiple frames came about by being given the keys to MARS Gallery in Port Melbourne. The space is long and narrow and the materials included a projector, several sheets of foam core, some speakers and a laptop with Flash and Photoshop. I wanted to create a sculptural audiovisual installation that incorporated projection mapping and sound. After staring blankly at the space for ages I realised that the most effective thing to do would be to cut the foam core into a series of frames that diminish in size down the length of the space, this way I can sequence the video to pulse across the forms back an forth, 3 dimensions of animation. I can then sync the video movement to a soundtrack and vice versa. The idea is that the work is constantly existing in flux, shifting through its various dimensions. Physical, digital and cerebral. Enigmatica is a digital and physical manifestation of an abstract stream of consciousness.
DG – Could you explain your work process, which programs you like to
use and how.
Kit Webster – With the first version I pre-built the sculpture and projected a Photoshop canvas over it. I then draw over the sculpture to map out a template and dropped the template into flash and animated the keyframes to the template bounds, and temporally to the soundtrack and vice vera.
These days its much easier. I create a standard default square template and animate to that, and then use a software like Madmapper to load in the pre-rendered animation and then tweak the video on the fly while its being projected over the sculpture. If the sculpture moves during the exhibition it can also be adjusted on the fly.
DG – Could you tell us about your upcoming part at Sugar Mountain 2013, providing the on-stage environment for Action Bronson and Dirty Projectors?
Kit Webster – I’ll be hanging geometric forms made from Kore-flute above the stage and then mapping out each one. The visuals are a mix of my own geometric flash animations, after effects experiments, Sketch-up 3D renders and audio-reactive generative software. I develop a masking animation layer that will allow each geometric piece to be revealed and illuminated individually in different formations. I also drop in filmed and found footage like water ripples, space, nature, macro and other animated environments and digital textures. It stylistically ends up looking like a mix of Op art and high resolution animated wallpaper. The clips are then usually converted into monochrome and blended using a ‘difference blend’ which extracts opposing colours of a clip. I then scrub through the clips to the beat and remix facets of the color, and other effects according to the musical development. I’ll also have two projectors hidden in the rafters to illuminate the roman sculptures and architectural facade surrounding the stage which will also be operated live and mixed to the sculptural installation.