wmc_e6 2018.10.21 | more works by Hector Rodriguez from his solo “Hidden Variables”: Z (2014-2016; 2018) | 羅海德作品繼續介紹：《Z》（2018版）
Z is a moving image analysis system that produces abstract representations of video sequences using a system of predefined grayscale disks, thus facilitating the critical understanding and aesthetic appreciation of cinematic rhythm.
Each disk responds to different aspects of the brightness of each frame. Changes in the higher frequencies reflect changes in the smaller details of the source image. Changes in the lower frequencies reflect changes in the overall shape of the source image.
Z employs a mathematical framework originally devised by physicist Frits Zernike to describe the aberrations of microscopes, telescopes and other optical systems.
In the WMC_e6 exhibition, two source films, of varied motion and brightness contrast, are used to heighten the visitor’s study of the power of the software. On one wall is Bela Tarr’s The Man from London (2007) and, on the opposite wall, Akira Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood (1957).
***to watch demo videos that explain the work [… …]
wmc_e6 2018.10.20 | More works by Hector Rodriguez from his solo “Hidden Variables”: Gestus (2010-2012; 2018) | 羅海德作品繼續介紹：《姿態》（2018版）|
Gestus is a moving image processing framework that uses computer vision techniques to explore the artistic possibilities of the vector as a symbolic form. It consists of a custom software that generates a vector analysis of the movements of videos in a database, identifying sequences that contain similar micro-movements and rendering them side by side.
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Gestus Redux analyses the movements of source videos in a database, identifying sequences that contain similar micro-movements and rendering them side by side. The current version uses source material drawn from Louis Feuillade’s 1916 serial film Judex.
The source film is shown without interruptions in the centre of the screen. The software identifies and displays eight shots, all from Judex, whose movement (speed and direction) resembles the central segment.
This work draws attention to pure movement, as distinct from the object that moves. Whereas our experience of the cinema is normally directed towards people, objects, and events, Gestus encourages spectators to disregard narrative content and pay close attention to visible movement as an end in itself.
The original film Judex (1916) was shown in cinemas as a serial in 12 chapters, a prologue, and a brief epilogue. Each episode has an average length of less than half an hour. The total running time of the film is 300 minutes. For this installation, each episode has been assigned a specific colour. The colours are designed to approximate the combination of tinting and toning, which was often used during the silent movie period.
***More details of Gestus: Redux (2018) with video demo [… …]
***An earlier version of the work: Gestus: Judex (2010-2012) [… …]
wmc_e6 2018.10.18 | more works from Cinema Expanding: “Hidden Variables” by Hector Rodriguez 「膨脹電影」繼續：羅海德《歧路結節：開合解謎》網上逐一介紹 | Fluxions 《流數》（2012）
Fluxions is an image processing system that visualizes video sequences as changing configurations of pixels. It segments the original video into short clips and applies a motion tracking algorithm to produce a vector description of their movement. It stores the first image of each clip as a key frame, and gradually shifts the values of its pixels based on the vector descriptions of the subsequent frames.
The result can be seen as an abstract visualization of the variation in the original movie. Viewers can also try to recognize or infer the missing objects and events. This tension between figuration and abstraction, between presence and absence, is the heart of this project.
On site at “Hidden Variables,” the artists showed us three metallic prints and one video.
wmc_e6 2018.10.17 | “Hidden Variables,” part 2 of WCM_e6 “Cinema Expanding” is over. Please continue to visit this website where works in the show will be featured one by one| Flowpoints (2010), software written by Hector Rodriguez has churned out six prints and one animation with connected lives.
《圍城私語》(Within the Walls)延伸著《流點線》(Flowpoints) 所探索的；這回的視像素材來自亞弗列・希治閣《 第十七號》選段。如《流點線》的操作，演算將每幀影格轉換成半抽象的彩色線條，組合構成煞有介事的敘事活動，卻又令人困惑而不知所措、難以定性的敘事空間。
The Flowpoints presented at WMC_e6 comprised of six digital prints and one animation titled Within the Walls.
Flowpoints the digital print series explores the tension between digital abstraction and cinematic representation in the information age. A motion tracking program analyses frames from classic films and uses the resulting data to generate abstract line renderings. While the resulting images are linear abstractions, they nonetheless hint at the contents of the films from which they were extracted.
Within the walls of an enclosed space, identities become unstable. Figure becomes ground, the body becomes its shadow, and the self becomes other. Characters blend into and emerge out of the enveloping architecture. Strangers gather and perhaps crimes are committed.
Rodriguez’s Within the Walls integrates video art with mathematics and computer science, exploring the tension between digital abstraction and cinematic representation in the context of an ongoing engagement with film history. This video is a collage of isolated moments from Alfred Hitchcock’s crime drama Number Seventeen (1932), which invites and yet frustrates the construction of a coherent narrative action and a narrative space. The work adopts the same motion-tracking system in Flowpoints with updates.
The work can be seen as a combination of experimental rotoscope animation and found footage cinema. The soundtrack is composed in the manner of musique concrete, using brute sounds from the original movie soundtrack, a method that Hitchcock himself adopted many years later in The Birds (1963).
Produced and directed by: Hector Rodriguez
Computer programming and video editing by: Sam Chan, with Hector Rodriguez
Based on source code by: Philip Kretschmann and Hector Rodriguez
Mathematical consultant: Felipe Cucker
wmc_e6 2018.10.15 | 歧路結節，開合解謎 Hidden Variables | 羅海德 Hector Rodriguez | 最後今天 Last day of the show, 11:00 – 19:00 |
A student visitor’s notes to the Artist shared here with her permission:
I and …my friend… said we like your works. I hope you know that was not for being polite, you know, we are young people, we like what we like. ( ????) We both think that the exhibition is interesting. Although we may hear and see some of your works before in class, it helps a lot when we know more what is actually going on inside your works (but still some works speak more by themselves).
You recommended us to watch Ken Jacob’s Tom, Tom, the Piper’s son before in your Walter Benjamin’s note. I find that your works are highly related to this film. I love cinema (maybe not as much as you do) and this film changes how I think towards cinema. When people talk about how great a film is, they talk about the theme, the narrative, the characters, the mise-en-scene, the editing…etc. but always neglect (are not/cannot be conscious of) how those basic graphical and sonic units combine together [and how that] stimulates and please our brain. We all take those magical perception processes for granted and therefore miss the chance to find a new way to experience cinema. But your works do make those fundamental conflicts be brought to the surface — some conflicts among the units that were not yet discovered.
I like simple pieces, among those my favourites are Inflections and the one with ongoing 3D terrain indicating the fading memory [Entropic Envelope]. These two give me a poignant feeling right away but the last one you showed us, Z,.. it stands alone. It is very challenging to the audience but also intriguing. Those wheel-like disks make it like a hardworking machine powered up by the film. And then I have a hypothesis for your whole exhibition. Maybe it is a superficial interpretation that you won’t like — you give all these vision machines some characteristics about their processes; they are all struggling but hardworking. And especially in Theorem 8. — why do you give them only 21 frames to reconstruct the movie? They seem really struggling ( ????).
Forgive my mumble, I am writing this email to just express that your works mean something to me, again not for being polite. Can I ask you a question? How do you choose which framework or theory to work with different ideas? Do you find the theory interesting first or do you find it very related to what you find interesting first? And one more — I hope I will understand the math one day ( ????).
In his solo exhibition “Hidden Variables: forking paths of visuality and technology,” Hector Rodriguez explores the hidden potential of applying technology and scientific theory through digital art creation. His works engage in a broad range of scientific concepts, from mathematical abstraction to applied mathematics in different disciplines, such as optics, quantum mechanics, information technology and so on. He takes imaging to be his starting point, and lead visitors into a unique cloister of thoughts. As part of the exhibition, a reading room in the central region makes available the bulk of research that has accompanied the artist’s creative process, from both the sciences and the humanities. Visitors are free to browse through the material to make their free connection between the works and the research. It will be a fun experience to join the dots.
Mathematical concepts used in the works on display include “approximation theory,” “inflection points,” “orthogonal projection,” “chaos theory,” “Zernike polynomials,” “simplex volume maximization,” “non-negative matrix factorization,” and the “uncertainty principle.”
Hector Rodriguez teaches computational and digital art and new media theory at the School of Creative Media, and is dedicated to softening the great divide between the arts and the sciences among the young generation. In the exhibition “Hidden Variables,” he exercises what is recently known as “STEM to STEAM” pedagogic model to generate new experiences outside the classroom for young people. His mathematically generated digital prints and videos visualize for us abstract concepts. Young visitors are encouraged to think cross-disciplinarily, to think out of the box, and to enjoy learning new concepts.
The general public is welcome to contact us to set up guided tours during the exhibition period.