Long-time fans of camp in general, and science fiction in particular, we set out to create a project that explores the mutual influences which flow between abstract art, and “space age” visual culture. Our sources included Thomas Wilfred’s Clavilux color organs as well as experimental abstract filmmakers such as Mary Ellen Bute, Jordan Belsen and James and John Whitney. We were also inspired by liquid light shows, the marvelous sightings of the Hubble Space Telescope, American sculptures of the 1930’s and 1940’s, and the visual culture of the space age. From these we sought to create an experience of sensuous immersion that could function as a portal from the mundane to the infinite. The glass sculptures inspired by “asteroid” forms in sci-fi illustrations, function on the one hand as abstract sculptures, and on the other hand as subjects for stop-motion animation used in the digitally manipulated video. Animations were also created from ephemeral sculptures made of light-loving craft materials such as glitter, pipe-cleaners, iridescent fabric and tulle. These animations were digitally manipulated and combined with purely digitally generated abstractions to create the final video.
For the light-boxes we used similar methods to create space-ship-portal views, which reveal both their humble origins and their cosmic aspirations. Using the term “intimate immensity,” Gaston Bachelard compares the imaginary space of the daydream with the vast untold reaches of the universe. He sees the imagination as our first experience of immensity. By creating illusions of distant galaxies out of cheap craft materials we draw a similar parallel. Nebula highlights the imagination’s power to transform the banal into the infinite, mining the wonder and pleasure at the root of both cosmology and camp.
Grotto Nebula Light Box
Short version of the Nebula video is distributed by the Video Data Bank