Mythology as Interface, Forensics as Metaphor
Animating Mythology as Interface, Forensics as Metaphor
I aim to animate and illustrate a transformation of consciousness by using forensic facial reconstruction techniques as a metaphor to identify the myth within the subject.
This project came about through an afternoon in graduate major studio and 87 post-it notes on anything interesting I could think of in five minutes. I decided to take advantage of having so many people from various backgrounds willing to give their opinions. After all the post-its were stuck to the wall, fellow students came over and choose their top 3 concepts. I went with the majority votes as constraints on my projects, those being: Forensic Facial Reconstruction, Mythology, and Rotoscoping.
Among other forensic techniques, I am trained in 2D and 3D facial reconstruction. As an active member of the International Association for Identification (IAI) I became skilled with the methods and tools of forensic reconstruction that I will be utilizing and building upon throughout this project. Being raised by a Jungian Psychologist affords me an extensive knowledge of mythology and it’s importance in our lives and cultures. Rotoscoping and Adobe Flash are the components of this project that are entirely new to me and add an additional element of discovery. Being a fine artist with an affinity towards science and technology I see this project as an engaging chance to add to the dialogue of the ever-blurring line between art and science.
After some research, visual mapping, iterations and prototypes, I came to combine these concepts to create a visual interpretation of my friend’s mythical transformation using a representation of forensic facial reconstruction techniques.
2. MY APPROCH
My subject, Chris Abell, was interviewed on camera about specific mythological figures that helped shape his beliefs. Using Adobe Flash I rotoscoped the video footage taken during the interview. The animation continues by reducing the subject to a simple skull. Then, drawing forensic tissue depth markers that “grew” from the skull, I reconstructed Chris into Ganesha, the mythological figure he discussed during his interview. Using real documents I created a “forensic” report similar to the reports I would create in real identifications. The images contained in this report are screen captures from the animation showing the process, in layers, outlines and onion skinned transparencies. These images further inform the notion of the invisible made visible. A bound copy of this activity report was then presented to the subject as a personal record of his transformation.
Some argue that science and technology are replacing religion and myth. But science cannot replace the myths it dismantles because science does not deal with the human spirit. No search for truth in the outer, material world will give us answers to the inner, spiritual world. But it is my hope to use science and the physical as tools to illustrate and inform the transformation of spirit.
3. FUTURE WORK
As a work in progress I hope to continue to develop the project and record it’s evolution; creating further documentary interviews, rotoscoped and hand drawn flash animations and forensic reconstructions and reports. I am currently in the process of sculpting the bust of Ganesha. This will then be filmed and rotoscoped for a degree of realism and a smother transition. I have plans to introduce 3D methods of digital construction to the animation using Maya, ZBrush and Mudbox. Other considerations for further research include motion capture and using 3D scans of the subject for modeling. 3D printing techniques will be included to bring the digital models into the material world. The final presentation of this project will be in a cumulative gallery instillation. I hope to create one 5-minute animation by intelligently combining the individual subjects’ transformations, along with several small sculptures and an illustrated book of my subjects’ relationship to their myth within. In doing so I hope to inspire others to contemplate and explore the myths they themselves may have hidden within; contributing to the dialogue of mythology in our technological culture and the merging of art and science.
 Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth (Anchor, 1991).
 C. G. Jung, The Archetypes and The Collective Unconscious, ed. Gerhard Adler, vol. 9, Collected Works of C.G. Jung (Dell, 1968).
 Webster’s New World College Dictionary (Cleveland, Ohio: Wiley Publishing, Inc., 2009), http://www.yourdictionary.com/religion.
 “Lord Ganesha,” http://www.iyyappa.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=49&Itemid=55.
 “Hindu Gods: Ganesha,” http://www.sanatansociety.org/hindu_gods_and_goddesses/ganesha.htm.
 Anthony Peña, “Myths-Dreams-Symbols: Jung in a Nutshell,” Myths-Dreams-Symbols: The Unconscious World of Dream,