animation + video art
Alexander Dupuis is an animator, musician, and artist based in Chicago. His short films and performances explore surreal and fantastical worlds, drawing on science fiction cartoons, op art, experimental film, and the psychedelic inclinations of machine learning.
Soft Death (Afresymegol)
Music video for Kirsten Volness' 2021 track. Inspired by the flight of nearby starlings, two characters undertake a transformative journey from which only one will return.
A celebration of the romantic collisions between blobs of pixels in a video feedback loop.
Writing the Arctic
Four-channel video installation imagining a world in which the polar bear, the charistmatic megafauna of the Arctic, has disappeared entirely from the landscape. Photoshop's automatic fill tools are used on images and movies to disappear the bears, with glitchy and ghostly flickers the only testament to their former presence. Paired with each empty landscape is a complement created by running this process in reverse, videos where Photoshop has preserved just the bears and used their fur and eyes and teeth to fill in the rest.
Video processing commissioned for the piece Post-Natural Pastorale by Brian House and Sue Huang. Post-Natural Pastorale is an audiovisual work interpreting data from New York City's Freshkills Park, once the largest municipal dump in the world. The piece features musical scores, interpreted by bassist Robert Black, which were derived from data on the various "layers" of the park. The video processing striates the footage in turn using automatic depth detection, recombining the shots of the various performances into new strata-like structures.
three paths is a system for audiovisual composition and performance based on simulating the relationship between physical space and sound in audio feedback. The music is created by moving virtual microphones relative to a set of "speakers", creating an emergent set of relationships between the sound of the feedback and the motion of the mics. Percussive attacks arise from sudden movements, doppler shifts occur when a microphone passes by a speaker, and delay times rise and fall as the sources move nearer and farther away - almost as though the virtual room grows larger and smaller. Composition becomes an act of choreography, structuring and sequencing the microphone motion in time to create desired patterns and evolution. The microphone positions and their resulting sounds are then used to drive the animation portion of the software, consisting of several interconnected video feedback systems.
Music video for the track 11:11 by Raina Sokolov-Gonzalez.
Dawn Chorus is an audiovisual performance in which light and sound mutually influence one another in a feedback loop. A small light-sensitive synthesizer sits within the throw of a projector, which in turn projects patterns derived from the sounds coming out of the instrument. This setup creates an environment of entangled causality in which light and sound are inextricably bound to one another --- the sound creates the light, which in turn creates the sound, and on and on it goes. Changes in the controls and spatial orientation of the instrument produce distinct patterns and tones: each live performance is an exercise in learning the audiovisual states associated with different ways of positioning and tweaking the synth, looking to find interesting paths through the different behaviors.
An exploration of feedback as a means of shapeshifting, drawing on the metaphor first established by Robert Ashley in 1964's pioneering feebdack work The Wolfman. Much like The Wolfman, Loup-garou features a lounge singer-esque protagonist in its performance, but the singer's image is now recursively processed along with their voice. Over the course of the piece the processing changes on the feedback sounds and images, moving through zones of transformation ranging from the cellular to the nebular.
A multimedia performance centered on a conflict between two characters: an entity bent on the optimization (or removal) of personal choice, and a protagonist paralyzed by uncurable uncertainty. The conversation between the two characters transpires through the interface of a phone, whose live camera feed is filtered to show the entity slowly assuming the identity of the performer. In the climax of the piece this phone becomes an instrument of petulant rebellion, swung on the end of a long tether as its accelerometer data drives a howling synthesizer.
13 Years Later
4JM is a short film constructed from one very long image which was broken up to form the individual video frames (if you were to stack every frame of the video one atop the other, you'd end up again with this seamless picture.) The very long image was drawn line by line by feedback image processing, creating the various undulations and swirls through automated changes that move and transform the area being altered.
That Which Pulls
An exercise in using "differential motion" to create patterns of tension and release through manipulation of audio and video data. This "differential motion" refers to the process of moving a set of elements through space at speeds which are related by integer multiples, a technique which animator John Whitney used to create intricately evolving visual patterns. That Which Pulls applies this technique to a single starting image so the pixels arrange and rearrange themselves, alternately descending into chaos and resurfacing in a new order. The same process is used on a single note of recorded audio, which becomes temporally shuffled to form multiple notes and syncopated rhythms. These two streams of raw material are cut up, layered, and recombined to create a piece that explores the dynamic interplay between the emergent auditory and visual gestures, focusing on the counterpoint between their patterns of chaos and resolution.
A digital system for performing live visuals alongside music, inspired by the liquid light shows that were popular in the '60s and '70s. Begun in 2014, the system has evolved over performances with a number of different artists and collaborators, including shows accompanying Drew McDowall, Guerilla Toss, Blevin Blectum, Kristin Hayter, Asha Tamirisa, Martim Galvão, Akiko Hatakeyama, and Adam Morosky.
that which is about us
A real-time performance system which adapts raster scanning from the realm of analog television as a means of generating simultaneous sounds and images. Raster scanning is a means of translating the two-dimensional images of TV into a one-dimensional signal for transmission - that which is about us reverses this process by starting with a one-dimensional signal (a digitally generated audio waveform) and translating that into an image. Changes in the rasterization algorithm are used over the course of the piece to produce different patterns, which are in turn de-rasterized to produce the accompanying music.
A short film derived from the rhythms of a video feedback system. The sounds of the film are generated by interpreting the colors in each frame as though they were run through the optical soundtrack area on a film projector, with the alternating areas of light and dark becoming the audio waveforms.