A Swirling Galaxy of Pop Matter from the Multimedia Artist
“It’s all consuming, unstoppable now,” says Marco Brambilla of our shared media saturation, which provides the primary inspiration for his work. “I’m not sure whether that’s a negative or positive.” The New York-based artist utilizes this never-ending pop spectacle in “Creation (Megaplex),” the third and final part of his 3D video collage trilogy, excerpted here and currently on show at Michael Fuchs Galerie in Berlin. Disembodied depictions from well-known movies and even the Hollywood sign itself are sucked into a vortex; loops from 350-400 films and about 2000 objects revolve balletically to Prokofiev’s “Cinderella Waltz”. “Most people have seen the films from which my pieces are derived, so it taps into their collective consciousness,” says Brambilla. “The waltz structure felt appropriate since everything is in constant motion, orbiting and circling—and Prokofiev has a wonderful sense of madness.” The video artist is renowned for shaping 21st-century ephemera into baroque shapes: his 2010 video for Kanye West’s “Power,” for example, saw Yeezy re-approriated as a godlike icon in a neoclassical painting. “The subject of creation lends itself to having no beginning or end,” he says of his latest example of visual alchemy. “From destruction there is rebirth.”
What was the personal impetus for the Megaplex trilogy?
Marco Brambilla: Using mainstream cinema as the subject, the pieces explore the concept of spectacle versus content in that medium. Having made a Hollywood film—Demolition Man—this work links to my own background and feelings toward that form of filmmaking, and media saturation in general.
How do you absorb and catalogue the volume of information out there?
MB: When I’m producing the collages, I watch three to four films per day and clips from many more. The process is like a stream of consciousness, so it’s important for me to hold it together by immersing myself in the subject for a substantial period of time.
Do you remember your first cinematic experience?
MB: My father took me to see Fellini’s 8½ in Italy when I was quite young. The abstract sense of narrative left an impression on me, although I couldn’t understand why I found it so moving at the time.
MB: I’m shooting a project with NASA entitled Conquest, which deals with manned space exploration. It is a multichannel video installation that will be shown in Times Square.
Creation (Megaplex) runs at Michael Fuchs Galerie through May 31.
The Artist's F1-Inspired Short Gets Behind Ferrari's Wheel
Video artist Marco Brambilla shares his densely hypnotic and kaleidoscopic 3D film RPM, commissioned by Ferrari in celebration of their latest auto masterpiece, the 458 Spider, and premiering at Art Basel Miami tonight. Assembling footage shot on location over several months at the Italian Formula One Grand Prix in Monza with imagery from the Scuderia Ferrari archives and the artist’s own recordings, RPM is a visceral, cubist representation of a Formula One driver’s state of mind during a race. “I wanted to make a portrait of speed,” says Brambilla, a life-long F1 fan. “Something as subjective as can be, that explores the connection of man and machine and tests the limits of human endurance.” Featuring Möbius strip racetracks, wind-gritted teeth and a howling soundtrack of throttling engines, RPM accelerates in complexity with every turn of the circuit. “[The film is] always accelerating,” says the artist, “just building, no payoff, no win.” The New York-based Brambilla, who created the digital tableau vivant for Kanye West’s “Power” and the 3D videos Evolution and Civilization, wanted to push the limits of his own aesthetic vocabulary with this project. “This one is a little bit different in that we used 3D as an editing tool,” he says. “As the piece speeds up, the multi-planing—the foreground, mid-ground and background objects—all cycle through each other to create an acceleration in 3D space.”
Formula One Stats
An F1 driver loses on average 5 kilograms in weight during a Grand Prix race and burns approximately 600 calories.
Drivers' heart rates reach peaks of 190 beats per minute during a Grand Prix.
A typical F1 car is made up of 80,000 components, in a package weighing less than 550 kg—less than half the weight of a Mini.
When an F1 driver hits the brakes, he experiences deceleration comparable to a regular car driving through a brick wall at 300kmph.
An F1 car can go from 0 to 160 kph and back in 0 to 4 seconds. During the 2004 Italian Grand Prix in Monza, the record top speed for an F1 car was set at over 360 kph.
Top F1 pit crews can refuel and change tires in around 3 seconds.
An F1 car generates enough downforce that it could drive inverted at top speed. In a street course race, this is enough suction to lift manhole covers, which have to be welded down before each race.
Scuderia Ferrari, founded by Enzo Ferrari in 1932, is the oldest and most successful F1 team in history with a record of 15 drivers’ championships and 16 constructors’ championships.
Today's video is courtesy of Christopher Grimes Gallery.
Digital Duplicates March to the Beat in the Pop Creative's Animated Artwork
A vampish troupe of doppelgängers marches in militant cycles in an animated reconstruction of London artist Jo Ratcliffe’s 3D installation, M. Zoe Trope. Reimagined by Klaas-Harm de Boer of Amsterdam-based animators Watermelon, the video artwork’s ethereal soundtrack comes courtesy of Icelandic trio Samaris’ track “Tíbrá.” “There was a photo in Vogue Italia which I constantly referred to,” says Ratcliffe of the inspiration behind her characters’ hyper-stylized look. “Also Tilda Swinton in the Wes Anderson film Grand Budapest Hotel, and the aliens from Mars Attacks.” The film is a playful take on the zoetrope, the optical device that was popular in Victorian England, and is based on a physical work premiered at contemporary graphic art fair Pick Me Up that starts today at at London’s Somerset House. “It was an unusual process for everyone—you can't call up a zoetrope maker. Well, we tried, but they were busy,” says the multi-talented London-based artist, whose kaleidoscopic animations include creative reinterpretations of Kate Moss and Lily Cole, and who recently lent her expertly scrawled handwriting to Lady Gaga’s video for “Applause.”