TU+: Narrative Studio 08 : Project 04 : URBAN RHYTHM : Treatment

Urban Rhythm : Treatment

Urban rhythm is the experiment on urban culture through visual and audio language. I have the interest towards urban idenity, street culture and also the believes that the vibe of modern cities are unique because of people, either the residents and visitors. Expression of this exciting energy could be easily found on the street, trace on the road, human daily activities, food, graffiti etc. I also interested in ‘pattern’ or ‘repetition’ and how they could be used as the tool of narrative.

The main theme for Urban Rhythm is the concept of a culture that is energized by the power of many individuals. It is also the exploration of pattern in urban culture and changes that causes by misbehaviors of a group of individuals. The up and down cycle; trends setters, influences, chain reactions, chaos and recovery, are the norm within modern society. These cycles can be seen as the unique identities of the culture.

Urban Rhythm is divided into 6 major sections or acts. Within each act except Act 01, it also sub-divided into 2 phases of Mini-men life ; At work and Off-work. ‘At work’ will display visual pattern of urban cultures while the ‘Off-work’ section will be about the mini-men personal life. These phases will be flipping back and forth and sometime overlapping each other. The expected acts are:

Act 01 – Synchronization of visual pattern, types, colours ; urban culture/ identity

Act 02 – Introduction to mini man ; Life behind the sign (from act 01)

Act 03 – Outlaws ; Some of mini man begin to behave differently from the rest

Act 04 – Chaos ; Pattern begin to overlapping and random

Act 05 – Breaking the new ground : Pattern is now completely change, new pattern emerge

Act 06 – Synchronisation of new visual pattern : new rules are set.

Urban Rhythm is a visual and audio experimental VJ performance. The narrative is divided into 2 parts; at work and off-work. The style in the first employ many elements such as photograph, graphic, and typography and other visual clues we find on the street. Thus demonstrate the rich and unique culture in the urban environment, people daily routine, experiences of being in the city (New York City). On the other hand, the second part concern with the life of mini-men who appear to be in silhouette. Instead of using graphic generated human animation, we intend to use the real actor in spandex suits (if possible). With the more realistic movement/motions, the mini-men will be truly alive. They will interact with each other and create the narrative of the man behind the Curtin. The animation production and compositing will be done in Adobe Aftereffect and Final Cut Pro.
Note that these two parts they will be switching within each act.

The final execution of Urban Rhythm will be an outdoor visual projection in the public space. I decided to choose the subway station wall to display the narrative as it represents a daily transit space, and symbolizing a lifestyle of the New Yorker. The piece will be presented as the visual and audio experience rather than traditional narrative (short film or movie). The piece will be fragmented into small animation clips for the VJ performance. Live manipulation of visual will be performed attempting to synchronize and create visual rhythm with the audio. The audio is pre-produced and live cast to the audiences nearby. The length of each performance will approximately be 10 – 15 minutes.

Voice and Point-Of-View
The narrative will be told in 3rd person, without the dialogues or narrator. The audio will play the important aspect here. The background music will control story’s beat, while others sound such as ambient, sound effect recorded on the street or abstract sounds will act as the narrator. It could be seen as the experimental visual/audio piece. The audience specially would play a role of god-like observers, those who look from above and investigating the process of change.


Pattern as the narrative

The earth is orbiting around the sun. It is also rotating by itself. The sun rises and falls everyday, seasons changes and repeating their cycles. Through our life, we live in repetition, routines, people are born to die. Reoccurrence of events, we refer to ‘pattern’. Human try to search for pattern in nature to make their life easier, to make prediction, modification and to take over them. However, there is seem to be no true pattern in this world. Although everything seems to fall in cycles, but they are, in fact in the process of change and evolution. ‘Narrative’ is a subject that concerns with changes over time. It is my interest to explore in the area of pattern as the tool for narrative. Particularly, the idea of repetition in both visual and audio sense. For example, the work of M.C. Echer, his visual pattern tells story via the uses of opposition, positive vs. negative space, black and white, good and evil etc. Optical art uses change in visual pattern to manipulate viewers’ vision. The research would attempt to analyze various techniques of story teller via the use of pattern and repetition. The repetition in sound plays the significant role in narrative. Beat and rhythm represent repetition, loops and changes of the notes over time of a music piece. It is the question of what really is pattern in narrative, how to apply it visually and through sound, as well as the user experience/journey.