Codex, my fan made Radiohead video, has been selected for this year’s Ars Electronica festival in Linz, Austria.  The theme this year is Artificial Intelligence.

In 2009 I won a Prix Ars Award of Distinction for my Peter Gabriel video, The Nest that Sailed the Sky.

Nice to have my work featured there once again, brings back fond memories of walking around Linz, absorbing both classic and modern culture, of which I’ve somehow managed to contribute a tiny bit.



Codex – Live in Quebec

November 20, 2015

So here’s my Codex video live in Quebec – opening a conference in front of 1,700 people on a 100 ft screen.

Radiohead – Codex

July 14, 2015

I made this video using the 3 separate animations I done based on code generated particle animation.  You can watch and read about the original animations here-

Particle Man

Star Girl

Universe Hand

Sit Down, Stand Up

November 2, 2008

This is something I done a few years ago, and one of my favourite pieces in my portfolio.

It’s basically the contents of my internet browser cache, arranged by smallest size to largest, with Radiohead’s ‘Sit Down, Stand up’ as the music backing.

It all happened by accident.  I was looking for a particular picture I had seen on a website, but couldn’t remember the site address, so I started scanning through the jpgs and gifs in my browser cache.  I arranged the sort order from smallest file size to largest to help find it, I then just held down the right arrow key to flick through them all at a frenetic pace, and just by coincidence I was listening to Radiohead’s Hail to the Thief album.  Watching the streaming blast of internet content along with the dark overtones of the music made an instant and provocative connection.

So I decided to make a video based exactly on this.  First I copied about 7000 files out of my cache, enough to cover the length of the track.  I then had to renumber the lot so that the smallest file would be named 00001 and so on – this was actually the most difficult bit – it took me about 2 days to find a piece of shareware renaming software what would actually rename and number files based on file size.  This would allow me to import everything into After Effects in the desired order.

I then added one simple camera move to zoom into the imagery and fill the screen at the climax of the music.

Can trash be art?

The video speaks volumes I think about modern culture, media, celebrities, advertising, politics, consumerism.  There’s something nauseating, relentless and spellbinding about it all, but only when seen in this context of menu bars, buttons, thumbnails and banners spat out like some sort of internet sewer.

With kind permission from Radiohead’s management, the video was featured at a screening night at the National Film Theatre in London, to a packed house and a distinguished industry panel giving it critical praise.  I designed the poster for the event which was a still from The Drop (my video for Peter Gabriel).

Here’s the text from the flyer,

Thursday 19 February (8:45pm)
@ National Film Theatre, South Bank, SE1 (020.7928.3232) Tube: Embankment/Waterloo
Price: general £7.50 | concessions £5.70

Links:  National Film Theatre | Johnny Hardstaff | Floria Sigismondi | Ruben Fleischer | The Directors Label

Antenna, the bi-monthly showcase that celebrates the very best in music videos, returns to the NFT this week with yet another selection of the latest and greatest in the genre. On the panel discussing the work this time is rising star Sam Arthur, director of the superb Royksopp’s “Poor Leno” video, and Karl Badger, head of promos website Video C. Joining them is commissioner John Moule, who’ll be discussing his latest work, including a Goldfrapp promo.

As usual the line-up of videos is under wraps, though revealed highlights include two gems from animation whiz Glenn Marshall — his short film The Drop and a never-before-seen test-film for Radiohead. Also on view will be the most recent work from previous panel member Dougal Wilson who’ll be screening his promo for Klonhertz. Book now to avoid disappointment — with music videos finally getting the recognition they deserve this will be a popular night.

This is my first attempt at music visualisation, based on the Zeno animation system I’ve been developing for my first two videos Music is Math and Metamorphosis. This time it’s Radiohead with their Bodysnatchers track from In Rainbows.

Technically not to much of a challenge, it was more about finding the right frequencies of the audio to work with, and what to apply where in the graphics and motion of the animation to make it look interesting.

What has helped this particular form of music visualisation is that it’s already based on a pre-existing generative animation system, so the audio reaction just adds another dimension.  It’s a 50/50 generative + audio reactive piece. The Zeno system has done a lot of the hard work, even in a neutral state with no audio it would hold up pretty well (which is basically what is happening with Music is Math and Metamorphosis). I always try to create a sense of a seamless visual journey, through different spaces, I don’t like cuts and edits or static points of view.

The generative visuals have 4 layers:-

1. Background layer of stars.
2. Bluish cloud.
2. Reddish Zeno (the vine like things)
3. Greenish Zeno.

Incidentally, the green and red sprites were created with fractal flames.  But this a topic for another day.

Here’s a breakdown of how the audio is interacting with the generative:-

1. Bass guitar – makes the red shading on the red zeno pulsate.
2. Lead guitar – affects intensity of inner glows of both zenos.
3. Treble – affects size of sprites.
4. Vocal – additional affector to red sprite size, affects speed and directions of all sprites, affects size of stars in background.
5. X Factor – this is the name I gave to the overall amplitude – an ‘excitement’ factor. This controls the camera Z depth (near/far) – loudness brings us closer in, quieter breaks bring us out again. This was important to get that sense of a non-static journey and spatial interest that married with the music. The X Factor also increases the speed of the zenos growing, and the intensity of the blue cloud.

Audio analysis is an art in itself, finding whats interesting, isolating cleanly from everything else, and hooking it up with the visuals somehow.  You can see there are endless variables and permutations to play with, which makes it a fascinating form of audio visual art, especially when mixed in with generative animation.