Van McElwee

MODULAR MAZES

Video/Sound Clips Rearranged Randomly in Real Time

The visual and musical spaces in each clip fit together in any combination, producing complex, unpredictable structures, an architecture of time and chance with no beginning or end. Each of six mazes explores this approach in a different way:

DREAM ALLEYS
At the intersection of two hallways a wandering figure takes twelve different paths, resulting in twelve video clips. As these units are rearranged, each cut is equivalent to the toss a twelve-sided die.

If we perceive the wanderer’s movement from shot to shot as continuous, it will seem as if she is being tracked by numerous cameras positioned throughout a maze of unknown size. As our viewpoint constantly shifts to follow her path, a synthetic narrative emerges from random clips. The dreamer wanders endlessly.

Music: Rich O’Donnell
Performer: Kelsey Lapointe
Virtual set: Casper McElwee
Video: Van McElwee
Lighting and compositing: Aaron Aubuchon
Flash programming for the Internet: Elisabeth Zoe Knass, Holger Lang

Preview Excerpt

PLEX EXTERIOR VIEW
(ONE UNIT LOOP)

PLEX
Movie theaters are temples that have morphed into labyrinths, architectural fractals leading from the actual to the virtual. These multiplexes steer a diverse public through branching hallways to imaginary worlds, where the labyrinth shatters into glowing handheld screens.

Designed as a movie for phones, PLEX is an architectural model of an endless cinema, made from a set of twenty black cube interiors filled with colored screens and artificial lobby music. A spiraling camera path connects the cube units into a free-form structure that occasionally loops back on itself, creating intersections of cascading screens. An external view would reveal a chain of cubes endlessly exploring a 3D grid of possibilities.

The cubes play like wind chimes, blown by chance.

Animation: Casper McElwee
Color, compositing and numerically generated lobby music: Van McElwee
Flash programming for the Internet: Elisabeth Zoe Knass, Holger Lang

Preview 3D Excerpt

Y-SPACE 2D, 3D
A maze is created from only two clips, a left turn and a right turn through a Y-shaped passage covered in mirrors. Unlike an actual mirror maze, there is no reflection of the viewer. Instead, the path appears to fork through a vast crystalline room whose walls recede to infinity - an image of the probability space through which the camera wanders. As the random editing program chooses left or right turns, one can imagine the untaken paths as a virtual, fractal tree.

Music: Rich O’Donnell
Animation: Casper McElwee
Flash programming: Elisabeth Zoe Knass and Holger Lang

CLOUD CATCHER
A video camera floating through a real-world Chinese sky labyrinth produces nine video clips arranged by chance. In each of these units, a different part of the original cave dissolves in and out of a luminous mist, creating a new labyrinth from the old. In these frozen clouds, nothing changes but our viewpoint.

Music: James Hegarty
Video: Van McElwee
Flash programming for the Internet: Elisabeth Zoe Knass, Holger Lang

Music: James Hegarty
Video: Van McElwee
Flash programming: Elisabeth Zoe Knass and Holger Lang

MEANDERING MODULES
Four L-shaped fragments of an actual hallway are tossed into space and randomly connected. These color-coded units, turning left, right, up, and down extrude an endless modular squiggle.

Music: S.A.N.E. (Sonic Acoustic Noise Ensemble)
Video: Van McElwee
Camera dolly: Aaron Aubuchon
Flash programming for the Internet: Elisabeth Zoe Knass, Holger Lang
Originally adapted for the Internet by Peter Schmalfeldt.

BLUE SNOWBALLS 2D, 3D
A virtual camera coils through an endless chain of orange dodecahedra filled with music and pale blue snow. The camera floats from one facet to another, connecting eleven blizzard-filled volumes in unpredictable groupings. Unlike the cubes that make up PLEX, chains of dodecahedra do not form loops, so in BLUE SNOWBALLS, two or more spaces will never be superimposed.
Music: James Hegarty
Animation: Casper McElwee
Snow: Zlatko Cosic
Compositing: Van McElwee
Flash programming for the Internet: Elisabeth Zoe Knass, Holger Lang