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Multimedia Installation

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David Carlson, “Ant on a Painting" excerpt from "Formation of Being"
Digital Video NTSC (3.48 min. running time) 2013

Formation of Being, acrylic and oil on canvas, 6' x 10' 2013


photo of painting
Ant on Painting - Multimedia/Digital Video projected on Painting-- RT:3.48 min.

Field - Multimedia/Digital Video projected on Painting-- RT:4.05 min.

Chief- Multimedia/Digital Video projected on Painting-- RT:2.40 min.

Body as Spacesuit - Multimedia/Digital Video projected on Painting-- RT:2.32 min.

Coming Together Coming Apart - Multimedia/Digital Video
projected on Painting-- RT:3:31 min

Totem - Multimedia/Digital Video projected on Painting-- RT:3.17 min

Stills from Formation of Being


Formation of Being (working title) began with the two simple ideas, to combine abstract painting with digital video and to explore the tension between movement and stillness. The multimedia concept grew as a logical extension from an earlier collaboration.

In 2011, my work was expanded by a collaboration with Ilana Silverstein, choreographer and John Moletress, director for a grant project under the Source Festival in Washington, DC. Bringing together video, dance and theatre in a space where the three art forms were equal partners gave new insight and a new direction and way of thinking about my digital video work.
The next step and the original idea for Formation of Being was to project multiple videos onto a painting. It made sense to create a totemic element on one side and an unidentified flying object to serve as an opposite pole to define the field. I needed to simplify the space in my work to hold the projected video. For the totem, a figure model was used to establish the initial gestures. Shooting digital photos, then photoshoping body parts to assemble a form, from there I made a series of ink drawings to initiate the painting.
During this time, a collection of abstract tantric images from India compiled in the book ‘Tantra Song’ by the French poet Franck Andre Jamme started to influence my thinking about how, not why, visual images transmit information. Creating and building the foundation in the painting gave the ground for the video compilation work to begin.
Inviting Ilana Silverstein to visit the studio, I wanted to share with her the initial painting and some random video projections so she could understand how the figure ground and scale might work when projected onto the painting. Afterwards, I gave her some sub-titles to form her choreography and movement for the video:

Circles / Line
Find the Edge
Body as Space Suit
Coming Together / Coming Apart

These words were our starting point for the collaborative aspect to the piece. Through the process Ilana brought a new set of ideas to the initial concept.
Since we both express ourselves intuitively and have a strong bond in process driven work we were able to experiment and flow back and forth in the video studio.
Formation of Being has presented new challenges that I have never faced before. The roadblocks that occurred while formulating this work can only be addressed by flexibility and listening to what the piece has to say and then respond to the direction of the work.











copyright David Carlson 2010