The Matrix - sand sculpture

in art •  7 months ago  (edited)

For those who have been following along you will know that I was experimenting with trying to portray movement in my sand sculptures using a technique of splicing individual still sculptures to show a mass of what the character would occupy over a given time. It all sounds very well thought out and scientific but really I was just playing around and trying to combine my two loves of sculpture and filmmaking.

For the 2004 ZeeBruggee sand sculpture festival there was a new orgainiser called the Sandaholics and they had won the contract to do the project. They wanted to be a bit more experimental and make the whole project into more of a festival atmosphere and I think they achieved it. The theme was set as 'Hollywood' and although I really don't like to make sculptures about other artforms I was happy when I was asked to tackle the 'Matrix'.

Freezing time

The bullettime special effects in the movie really suited the style I was pursuing and I was given the freedom to do my thing.
The way they did the effect in the film is really quite simple. using many still cameras around the character that could be set to shoot at the same time or in sequence, they could then play the frames back as an animation and it would seem like one virtual camera was capturing the action allowing them to freeze time of makes actions last longer. It was all very clever and something explained better in this video.

Backbreaking work

For my sculpture I wanted to show the famous scene of Neo bending over backwards as he avoids some bullets. I decided on 5 frames so that I could separate the elements out and make it read better.
You will have to excuse the lack of likeness to Keanu Reeves but that wasn't really possible in the time given to complete the piece. It's also something a bit beyond my pay grade.

I liked the piece and how it tied into a technique I was exploring. I think I had finally gotten it to a stage where I could move on to other ideas now and gotten it out of my system.

Due to the fact that the figures' heads would be floating as they fell back. I was forced to think of an idea to add another element which would act as a support and maybe add to the meaning of the piece. Sand really doesn't like when you want it to suspend it in the air. My idea was to create wall like the lines of gibberish code they have in the movie. I think it worked quite well and didn't take away from the action.

Little quickies

There were also other bits and pieces I made during the event. Here's a quick homage to Kubrick's 'A clockwork orange'. Completed with, a clockwork orange.

And this silly Worm like thingy which was from a pile of left over sand. More of a space filler than anything else.

Center stage

The Sandaholics made it a very nice environment to work although, they were still a bit overwhelmed by trying to put on such a big project. They were also sculptors and knew how to treat us.

Usually the opening of these larger projects the sculptors were pushed aside while all of the men in suits that organised the project would come in a pat themselves on their back for what a great job they had done but not the Sandaholics they wanted to make us take center stage in the festivities. First they made sure we were all dressed to the nines. They help me rent a suit and then picked us all up from the hotel in Limousines and whisked us to the site where we were given the red carpet treatment.

Oh James

I got to drive with my harem of beautiful lady carvers. (Don't we scrub up well). The girls drew strays on who would be my date for the evening but I told them there was enough of me to go around.
We then had an evening of champagne and entertainment and a sudo Oscar ceremony where everyone won a prize. They had also employed lookalikey famous actors to mingle with us. It was all great fun and we danced into the wee small hours.



Thanks for reading. I use Steem to document my work as an ephemeral Sculptor of sand, snow and ice, among other things. This will hopefully give it a new life on the Steem blockchain. Below you will find some of my recent posts.

Berlin Olympics 1936 - sand sculpture

A hop, skip and jump - sand sculpture


Earth worm (NSFW, may contain nuts) - sand sculpture

I hope you'll join me again soon

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Thanks for your visit, Hi to Bernie if you see him.

It's amazing what can built from sand. I like your idea with matrix and I don't care if he looks like Keanu or not.. it's stunning anyway! The movement looks great!

I have always wondered.. what happens when it becomes windy during your work? Is there any way to protect your sculpture?

Lucky you with those girls! :)

Thank you and that's a great question. People usually worry about the rain but the drying out can be a worse problem as all the details can blow away. When finished carving we usually, but not always give them a light spray of dilute PVA/ kids glue. This holds the surface grains together just enough to stop the surface damage from the wind and it also helps with the rain dappling the surface.
Nothing happened that night with the girls, I cried myself to sleep alone yet again.

So this is the trick! I have always wondered how this works as there is so much wind blowing at the beach (normally) - or at least at the beaches that I have visited :) But I didn't think about the rain so thank you for including this one too.

Hahaha, you must be used to crying yourself to sleep alone then :) Try to fall asleep in front of TV.. it might help as then you won't feel that alone :D

I just wanted to stress that the spray doesn't add any actual strength to the sand sculpture Is is just to preserves it a small bit from the elements. It will breakdown eventually.
The compacting of the sand is the real trick and it can turn good sharp sand into a soft sand stone.
I got married and now have a 3 year old son so now my bed is rarely empty. I must confess that I enjoy sleeping alone sometimes.

I was so wrapped up with issues lately I neglected to find my friends and upvote this in time (and would have resteemed it). What a great post! You know I love your work.
The next best thing I can do is spread it elsewhere - like on my Visionary Art Facebook account and on my Twitter:

Thank you @thermoplastic. I've been really busy also. Thanks for you kind words and support.

Im a huge Matrix fan. Great job @ammonile here is an upvote and resteem :)

Thank you, I loved the original movie also. The other ones not so much.

Sorry, I upvoted my own comment by mistake.

Its allright dont worry about it :).
I also love the first one as a stand alone. But the story as a hole, good vs. bad, light prevails, the sacrifice and all the metaphysics inbetween its awsome!

The random matrix code as a wall, just brilliant! Marvellous!!

Your post was upvoted by the @art-venture account after manual review and included in Art-Venture magazine. The upvote and support of Art-venture magazine would greatly appreciated!

Thank you very much.

Wonderful work. Never mind Keanu Reeves, I think Neo has a distinct look of Bono about him!

That is who I should have said it was. I may have just gotten away with it.

Fantastic work!

Thank you.

A really intricate piece for sand. You pulled it off well

Thank you kindly.

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Hello @ammonite, thank you for sharing this creative work! We just stopped by to say that you've been upvoted by the @creativecrypto magazine. The Creative Crypto is all about art on the blockchain and learning from creatives like you. Looking forward to crossing paths again soon. Steem on!

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