As part of AV Festival 12: As Slow As Possible, Vane presents two exhibitions, ‘Super-natural’ by Sneha Solanki and ‘Mesocosm (Northumberland UK)’ by Marina Zurkow.

Mesocosm (Northumberland UK)
Marina Zurkow

‘Mesocosm (Northumberland, UK)’ is an algorithmic, animated landscape portrait, representing the passage of time on the moors of Northeast England. One hour of world time elapses in each minute of screen time, so that one year lasts 146 hours. No cycle is identical to the last, as the appearance and behaviour of the human and non-human characters, as well as changes in the weather, are determined by a code using a simple probability equation: seasons unfold, days pass, moons rise and set, animals come and go, around a centrally located and almost omnipresent human figure. This man with his back to us is based on Lucian Freud’s painting of Leigh Bowery, the performance artist, designer, and drag queen. In ‘Mesocosm (Northumberland, UK)’, he acts as a ‘Green Man’, a corpulent bridge to the world beside the human: his night-time excursions outside the edges of the landscape imply action beyond the wings of the constructed theatrical landscape, while by day he permits various small creatures not only to climb on him but also to feed on him, producing the only specks of colour – blood red – in the work.

‘Mesocosm’ is a series of animated landscapes that change over time in response to software-driven data inputs. The title ‘Mesocosm’ is drawn from the field of environmental science and refers to experimental, simulated ecosystems that “allow for manipulation of the physical environment… for organismal, community, and ecological research”. Mesocosm’s animated landscapes portray specific places populated by animals, people, plants and weather whose behaviours and interactions are driven by data, probability, and if/then conditions, which determine what appears on screen. They are drawn by hand, frame-by-frame, yet their choreographies are dynamic – not looped or canned – as inputs determine order, density, and interrelationships. Change happens slowly, but can be radical over time.

Also on view are ‘Heraldic Crests for Invasive Species’, designed for twelve of the most successful modern invaders of North East England.

Developed during an ISIS Arts residency.

ISIS Arts is a visual and media arts organisation, based in Newcastle upon Tyne, which was founded in 1991 and, for twenty years, has run an international programme of commissions, residencies and events.

The computer code for the animation was developed by Veronique Brossier

AV Festival 12: As Slow As Possible takes place 1-31 March 2012 across Newcastle, Gateshead, Sunderland, and Middlesbrough. Slowness is the theme for the fourth edition of AV Festival. AV Festival 12: As Slow As Possible is a biennial Festival in slow motion, with some works running for 31 days, some for fleeting moments only, and others appearing to freeze or extend time. Spanning visual art, music, sound and film, the Festival includes over 20 exhibitions and 80 events. AV Festival 12: As Slow As Possible is funded by Arts Council England, BFI, PRS for Music Foundation, Wellcome Trust, Henry Moore Foundation, Sunderland Council and Middlesbrough Council.