Digital Puppetry, or Real-Time Animation is when animated characters are performed live by puppeteers. Digital puppets can interact spontaneously with people in the real world and react to a live audience. This project is a collaboration between animator Lynn Tomlinson and puppetry artist Colette Searls, who worked with a team of artists and programmers at UMBC's IRC (Imaging Research Center). Together we built a touch-screen iPad interface to control a digital puppet, in order to create a short film and/or performance piece, featuring the character of a decorator crab, who becomes a hoarder in a natural response to the overabundance of stuff in her environment. The crab puppet will be a hinged 2-d stop-motion puppet which artists can control in real time to record actions and create short films.
Rehearsing with Kendra the Crab for Light City Baltimore
Kendra’s Bay is a spectacle of live-cinema comedy, created by two of Baltimore’s own award-winning artists: animator Lynn Tomlinson and puppetry artist Colette Searls. Using a new digital puppetry app create at UMBC’s Imaging Research Center, Tomlinson and Searls have combined animation, puppetry, and street performance for this exciting Light City premiere. Featuring performers Alex Vernon and Sarah Olmsted Thomas (of the acclaimed Happenstance Theater), and a new digital puppet character, Kendra’s Bay points to the unseen effects of how we handle our cheap junk in an era of planned obsolescence.
The true story of the last house on a Chesapeake Bay island slowly sinking into the rising seas comes to life through fluidly transforming animated clay-on-glass paintings. The house sings of its life and the creatures it has sheltered, and contemplates time and environmental change. Told from the house's point of view, this film is a soulful and haunting view of the impact of sea-level rise.
Vimeo Teaser (password-protected full video available by request)
I wrote the lyrics to the ballad and began the animation for this film while on an artist residency at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, across the bay from the remains of Holland Island. My clay-on-glass animation involves both planning and improvisation. When I spend three hours to make one second of finished animation, I enter a state of flow, concentrating on altering the malleable clay like finger paints, changing it slowly, frame by frame. In this film, instead of a storyboard, I edited a video-mashup animatic including painting and video reference, which I changed as I went along. Sometimes I used this as a rough guide, and other times I actually rotoscoped the movement, to add a life-like quality to my moving paintings. Sometimes I let the clay lead me to the next frame and through a full transition: for example, the house disappearing in the bubbles under the sea was an improvised moment. I let go and used my imagination, and trusted that the house could reappear at the bottom of the sea.
I came across the haunting image of a house standing alone in the water in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay. Reading more about this house, I was struck by its story, and its relevance today, when so many communities are facing challenges from sea-level rise. The images I chose and the visual style reflects the artwork of Winslow Homer, VanGogh, and Kathe Kolwitz, artists working in the late 1800's, the time period when the house on Holland Island was abandoned.
The Ballad of Holland Island House
The Immortal Jellyfish
"We are creating a world more like the late Precambrian than the late 1800s—a world where jellyfish ruled the seas and organisms with shells didn’t exist. We are creating a world where we humans may soon be unable to survive, or want to." -- Stung! On Jellyfish Blooms and the Future of the Ocean, by Lisa-ann Gershwin
Medusa: The Immortal Jellyfish
At Quest Fest Visual Theater Festival at the Theatre Project in Baltimore.
Photo by Melika Carr.
Medusa: The Immortal Jellyfish, Trailer
A live visual theater performance/installation blending animation, ceramic sculpture, underwater plastic-bottle puppets, live video feed, and multiple projections. The process and the product are created live on stage simultaneously, creating an immersive world from the hive-minded perspective of the jellyfish. Low-tech meets high-tech, digital meets DIY, building a speculative Post-Anthroposcene environment: a Neo-Precambrian world of human remains where jellyfish rule the sea.
Medusa: The Immortal Jellyfish Excerpt
Plastic-bottle jellyfish populate a post-human world. This film is the first step in a live performance piece combining animation, under-water puppetry, costume, sound, and live digital projection.
3-d scanned sculptures by Lynn Tomlinson with live-action 3d scanned images of puppet and puppeteer, composited with undersea-scape modelled by Rodrigo Alonzo.
The Swimmer in "Medusa: The Immortal Jellyfish"
photo by Zachary Z. Handler
3D animation underwater tests
3-d scanned sculptures by Lynn Tomlinson with live-action 3d scanned images, composited with undersea-scape modelled by Rodrigo Alonzo.
This is a fairy tale: an overly optimistic fantasy about human adaptation in the face of sea-level rise. "Madalines' Stilts" was created by a three-generation collaboration of grandmother-mother-daughter artists. They all share the name "Madaline."
Nano-Performance: Brevity, Intimacy, and the Infinitessimal
Audience members will participate in a treasure hunt, following a digital map to each performance site. This project is an opportunity to explore “blended” learning – a hybrid of online and live interaction between faculty and students. Working directly with a group of students from across all majors, this project is a collaborative exploration of new ways to think about scale. What is the interrelationship between intimacy and claustrophobia? How can we think about smallness? Reduction? And how does scale influence a performer and/or audiences emotional reaction?