Script - Vast and sprawling. A storm of forms splay themselves across the canvas. The multiplicity of forms and juxtapositions overwhelm the viewer and suggests the complexity of today’s world. The size of the canvas dwarfs the viewer and engulfs them into a whirlpool of shape and abstraction.
This is the work of Ethiopian-born artist, Julie Mehretu. Born in 1970, in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, her family fled the country in 1977 to escape civil war. Today, she is a world reknowned artist whose works are exhibited in galleries throughout the world.
Mehretu’s paintings are built up with many translucent layers of paint. Each layer borrows imagery ranging from calligraphy, architecture, cartography, topography and numerous other sources and even different periods in time, combining into what could be described as a storm.
But even if it is a storm, it is not necessarily completely chaotic. Often, the myriad marks seem to organize themselves into a structure and seek a kind of order. In this process, the individuality of a single mark seems to recede and here, its existence as part of a collective is heightened. It is a metaphor that serves as a reminder to the viewer of their own existence as part of a chaotic whole.
Two weeks ago, the podcast project was assigned. On the first week, I originally wanted to make a video about my own artmaking, but I realized that the resulting video would be pretty uninteresting. I switched the subject to Julie Mehretu, whose works I had seen a few times before. I find her stuff pretty cool, and I think that the whole information explosion vibe I get from her works is a pretty good take on the world today.
I recorded the voiceover while listening to the music track with my earbuds. That helped me recite the script with good timing, and saved me from doing a lot of manipulation in Audacity. As far as processing is concerned, the most notable thing was that I applied noise reduction to my recital to overcome my low quality microphone and recording environment.
I am very glad that my chosen music track worked out very well for this project. The script and image transitions seemed to all fit into place magically.
Putting the video together, I chose to use the software called DaVinci Resolve by Blackmagic Design. Although it is not open-source software, there is still a free version available. I could have used simpler software, but I figured that I should try out the legit stuff.
My initial impression of Resolve is that it is a well-designed piece of software, and it has a beautiful interface as well. It did not take long for me to figure out how to do things, and I can see how powerful it is for making videos. Creating the panning and zooming animations was intuitive. I also had an easy time creating and reusing my text captions for the artworks.