Vector by Boris Brecht debackere

Vector by Boris Brecht debackere

MUTEK 30 mai 2007, Boris and BrechtDebackere, Ex-Centris

First screening on 26 January 2010 at iMal, Brussels.

A vector (Latin: carrier) is a mathematical element of a vector space. In geometry and physics, vectors represent as much direction as displacement, velocity, acceleration and power.

VECTOR is a film that derives from a generative computer application. The production aims to explore the intrinsic qualities of the digital media and to utilize them in the creative process. The digital media do not represent, they generate. They are more software than hardware, and by nature quite different from any other medium that we know, in short: transforming and growing systems.

The modular qualities of the software enable emergent processes, feedback and (re-)generating processes to unfold into dynamic elements. The “virtual tool” plays an active role in the creative process of the film-production. By handling those digital technologies with dynamic processes, can arise new and alternative production methods, different from those in the representational media.

The focus of production of VECTOR is to develop a computer application to represent the concept of pure movement. Film is movement. The movement of the subject, the movement of the camera, the movement of the film through the projector. All these movements create tension, dynamism, and also determine the experience of the film. Translated into mathematics, the movement is represented by a vector, the core of this project.

The starting point of VECTOR is the action movie as a genre preferring the spectacular and sensational audiovisual experience to the psychological conflict and reflection. This genre was deliberately chosen because, like no other, it explores the many features of movement and uses them as its central theme. Action sequences are based on stylistic conventions such as slow and fast motion, continuous motion, unrealistic lighting, staccato editing, speed… In VECTOR, these conventions are analyzed and applied within an abstract world free from a narrative context but with the purpose of generating a similar audiovisual experience. Therefore, special attention is paid to the specific form and style elements that emphasize the movement and are crucial in the experience of motion.

VECTOR has an affinity with the tradition of Absolute Movie where the formal and structural characteristics of film are used to produce a purely cinematic effect. Our method is also closely related to the formalist and structuralist tradition that assumes that the cinematic codes and conventions are meaningful. The formalistic nature of cinema can do more than tell stories, it reveals a different mindset. The “language of the medium” is the basis on which the “story” is subordinate to the form. Experiencing a structuralist film is like watching a chain of dominoes: once the first stone falls, one pays attention rather to the outcome of the overall organization of the stones than to one individual element.

VECTOR wants to make visible the internal movement of the film by reinforcing the conical projection beam and joining it to the laser beam. This creates a dynamic friction between the flat screen and reality. The laser patterns that are projected as meta-layers in the space and on the screen lift the two-dimensional images out from the projection plane and bring them into the three-dimensional space of the movie theather. This unveils and makes visible the underlying system of movement and deformation. In that case, the film experience has no longer its transparent quality that allows the viewer to see through the media; but, paradoxically enough, becomes immersive thanks to the real-time visualization of itself. The game between the laser light and the video projection, both having their specific qualities, sticks out the flat screen and places the viewer into the film frame. This total experience both gives an insight into the underlying mechanisms of the film and provides an immersive and fascinating experience.

Vector is produced by Cimatics with the support of VAF.

Project made during Boris & Brecht Debackere’s residence at iMAL, Brussels.

Related links: ROTOR, autofasurer

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