15:44 is published in Datableed Zine issue BC. Watch online here
when I am no longer vivid
my voice will enter the chamber
where my body cannot
and look upon its face
rendering creed and supplication
15:44 is a cyberpunk liturgy to disembodiment and digital apparition, a collaboration between digital artist Maisie Newman and poet and musician Rowan Evans. The film combines poetry, 3D animation and original music and was first commissioned by Mercy (Liverpool) and Penned in the Margins as a live performance for the EVP Sessions (November 2015), and then as an installation for Fringe Arts Bath 2016. Developed in response to a fear of occupying simulated spaces, encountering digital objects and the empty field beyond their periphery, 15:44 interrogates how the live body interacts with digital structures that perform without an identified user. Through the vocabulary of ritual, it causes an encounter between the viewer and a technological system which draws them near to a ‘body of light’.
Created with Blender software, Newman’s animation uses geometric construction and shifting textures to explore the dismantling and re-emergence of form, disorientating ‘our faith in a single plain’. The viewer moves beyond the live body into the unknown dimensions of a simulated space, encountering a digital apparition which responds to itself by continually changing in form. We become conscious of the eventual performativity of this apparition as it begins to replicate – and learn from – an awareness within its technological environment, separating the viewer from their physical location.
Simultaneous to this process, Evans’ poetry draws on spatial theory, religious text and science fiction to create a lyric response to fear and disembodiment in a virtual field. Spoken by two alternating voices, the recitation of the poem forms vocal patterns abstracted from the body as sound, yet sonically present in the space of the artwork. This recorded vocal trace parallels the video and its process and generates a conscious presence of its own, as the voices feed into one another across the stereo field. Music moves between ambient drone, post-rock guitars and minimal electronic composition, interacting with the voices and underscoring and amplifying the images.