Book of Changes

draft version implemented 25 August 2008 video clip added 10 January 2009

Book of Changes is a piece showing a mosaic woman whose image is disassembles and reassembled. Several approaches are possible.

Update 25 August 2008 – I’ve done up a quick and dirty rendition of one way to do the photo mosaic woman. Be sure to click through to see one image change into the other. If I decide to go with this approach, the web pages will probably be redesigned starting with the higher res originals but this will give you the idea of how the catalyst moves through rearranging the image. I am happy with the use of coins. I am not a Flash programmer but wonder if there is an easy and nice way to create this in Flash or maybe something else

Note – these may not be the pictures I’d use but somehow I rather like their resonances. Other possibilities include:

  • having the images be a photo mosaic
  • having the images be a collage possibly rephotographed before being cut up
  • photographing and then smashing a porcelain figurine and making a series of photos of the pieces arranged in various ways
  • hexagrams are not present here, could include hexagrams to the side and have the viewer click on lines which would then jump to an image of the figure dis/re-assembled
  • using a deck of cards instead of the journal narrator, arranged in an orderly fashion then rearranged by the fool card passing through in the same way as the coins rearrange the photo, just lay the cards out and take a series of stills with them in the various arrangements

Process notes and additional thoughts 24 August 2008 – maybe a David Hockney-style collage of photos, perhaps? but if so, derivative? or is it refreshed by randomising the arrangement via the joker – have the joker move through the stills rearranging them into abstract patterns then reassembling? I’m mid-stream in reconsidering the role of the trickster/shape-shifter, the concept as it exists now is still far too muddy and contradictory.  Or is the joker needed? Want to untangle the threads, tease out the underlying precept here. If I create the mosaic woman as an assemblage of fragmentary photos, it could be done as a simple slide show.  But what then is the force that moves through fragmenting and reassembling?

I would like the image to be interactive, such that the viewer can effect changes that break apart and abstract the woman’s figure or conversely reassemble it. Some of the abstract patterns may evoke other symbols. The final form of the piece has not yet been decided – see the original vision and the process of reconceiving it.

Although initially envisioned as a three-dimensional sculpture in the form of a triptych, it may be better fully digital and interactive. Perhaps the sense of a catalyst can be evoked.

I want to preserve the mosaic woman and the sense of process but it needn’t be a purely two-stage one.

Perhaps cast each line of the hexagram, and in doing so the pieces of the mosaic are rearranged gradually changing from the initial intact image to an abstract one.  Then the changing lines each further alter the arrangement. Perhaps allow the view to interact by clicking on lines at random, each time generating a change in the arrangement of the mosaic tiles.

I had been playing around with another idea that could be incorporated here, the concept of a catalyst/trickster/fool figure, who moves through a medium and changes it. The original idea was to lay out cards in an orderly fashion, make an animation from stills in which the Fool moves through the cards disrupting and rearranging them, evoking archetype of a shape-shifter or alchemical mercury.  This idea isn’t fully worked-out so I haven’t documented it previously in the blog, although it is in the (real) journal.

Now I’m thinking the shape-shifter could move through the mosaic woman moving things around.

I’m still considering but wanted to record these ideas in process now.

original idea

created 20 July 2008

A triptych. Not sure yet if this is video, image, image with sound, sculpture, sculpture enhanced with sound. These are just rough thoughts at the moment, need development.  What is the mood of the left and right pieces? My feeling is that the one on the right should be more beautiful than the one on the left.

Would be nice to have them both in real porcelain, a bas-relief done finely and smoothly and an actual mosaic made from shards of an identical one smashed. Can this effect be achieved digitally?

This is another bricolage but with a different process and a different source.

Left Panel – porcelain image of woman

Centre Panel – sound of hammer and porcelain smashing

Right Panel – porcelain shards rearranged into abstract mosaic

Possible enhancements

Add hexagrams from the Book of Changes? (could be either too overt or too cryptic, and which to choose?)

Put an image on the centre panel, coins flipping (three coins from different countries).

Put a video in the centre panel, coins flipping over and over.

2 thoughts on “Book of Changes

  1. Interesting idea…based I assume on a temporal sequence (state / process / new state). Could this be complicated more…?

    Rather than a “triptych,” could you base this on the trigrams that comprise the hexagrams? (so six panels representing more “states in flux”); the mosaic image could create a symbol also, but that would require the observer to translate the symbol perhaps.

    Even more obliquely, could you throw the binary codes of the hexagrams / trigrams through a programmed process to de-code / re-code the experience in digital form?

  2. interesting ideas…this piece has been sitting idle for a while, now I’m reconsidering it.

    yes, it is a temporal sequence, based on ‘changing lines’, which transform the initial hexagram into another one so you need to interpret both together as a sequence.

    now I’m thinking I might want to do more with the changing lines concept in this piece. there may be some way to bring in an element of play. Click on a line in a hexagram and see the mozaic pieces change position, gradually rearrange the woman into new form?

    I’ll cogitate

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