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Culture

FIELD's Energy Flow: Exploring The Order And Chaos Of "Chance"

We dive into the themes and visual language of “Chance,” the second story of FIELD’s non-linear film experience Energy Flow.

by Julia Kaganskiy
15 November 2012, 9:10pm

Last week we introduced you to digital art studio FIELD and told you about their upcoming experimental film experience Energy Flow, produced in partnership with The Creators Project. A complex, non-linear film composed of 10 distinct story lines, we’ll be exploring the visual language and narrative themes of Energy Flow every week leading up to the project’s Android and iOS app store debut in December.

The second story in the Energy Flow series explores the indeterminate concept of “Chance,” examining themes of cause and effect, order and chaos. While each chapter of Energy Flow in some way examines the invisible forces at play in our world—from the information coursing through a supercomputer to the throbbing energy of a riotous crowd—“Chance” is more a commentary on the unpredictable nature of these forces, and moreover, how that very unpredictability is perhaps the thing that links us all.

The main visual metaphor of “Chance” is composed of dice. The scenes start out simply with just a handful of dice colliding on a game board but soon escalate into towering sculptures and cascading avalanches that look almost menacing, as if they’re going to bury you alive. The metaphor here is a familiar one: seemingly minor events escalate into chain reactions.


A set of dice colliding on a game board may seem innocuous until they start multiplying.

For the visual inspiration of this chapter, FIELD consulted the work of British sculptor Tony Cragg, whose sinuous dice sculptures are echoed in certain scenes.

Drawing at once from spiritualism and science and mathematics, FIELD was inspired equally by the ancient Chinese divination system I Ching and complex geometric systems and physics theories such as the Calabi-Yau manifold.


Calabi-Yau manifolds play an important role in string theory, which suggests that there are at least 10 dimensions.

The Creators Project: At what point did you begin exploring the effects of chance on our lives? This seems like a theme that probably extends beyond this project.
FIELD:
Randomness plays big part in generative design and is an important aspect in previous projects we’ve done, like the 10,000 digital paintings project. Randomness often adds that little bit of imperfection into a generative system that we recognize as natural, alive.


Prints from the 10,000 digital paintings series.

At various points in the film, we encounter a veritable avalanche of dice, becoming engulfed in “chance,” so to speak. The sheer volume and scale of this seems overwhelming. What sort of feeling were you hoping to convey here?
Chance is about balance between randomness and control. Sculptures in motion show the moment when you’re losing control and chance is overwhelming you. That feeling of overwhelmingness and vulnerability relates to big events like social conflicts or natural disasters, which are themes we’re exploring in other chapters of Energy Flow.


Simulated physical forces play the most important role in the Chance scenes –gravity, friction, repel and magnetism.

How has chance had an effect on your own life and work in a memorable and significant way?
In the light of big things out of our control, you appreciate the small things in life more. [The best you can do is] create your own destiny, steer your luck as much as you can, seize control of things that you can make a difference with.

Visit EnergyFlow.io for more information on the project and more behind-the-scenes imagery and videos on "Chance." Check back on The Creators Project every week for an in-depth look at a different storyline or feature of the film.

@juliaxgulia

Tagged:
Film
Art
Design
chance
App
experimental film
generative
Energy Flow
Marcus Wendt
Vera-Maria Glahn