Little Islands

Little Islands continues my exploration into syncretism and reconfigurations of Latin American myths and iconography through new technologies. It also serves as a response to the series of drawings I did in the first part of the semester.

Little Islands main inspiration is the syncretic figure of tio Diablo, a Bolivian underground god/demon that protects miners. The strange and colourful figure of tio Diablo dictated both the visual language and the underground setting of the piece.












































My research into visionary artists from the Amazonian city of Iquitos informed some of my choices –in particular its flirtation with psychedelia and the use of music. These artists combine visionary imagery from indigenous traditions with European landscape painting, folk art and Peruvian popular culture.



















The piece also is an experiment in appropriation. My original intention was to use the same colour scheme of the lithography from the streets of Lima. This style called “chicha” uses a black background and colour neon colours, and its used as cheap forms of advertisement. Being constrained by a strict colour scheme proved to be a challenge, and I am not sure how successful I was at this. This small issue is representative of my concerns of appropriation as a viable methodology for my practice.




The piece is a work in progress. I am planning on adding the figure of tio Diablo as a main character who guides the viewer through the underworld and ultimately to the heavens. I see it as a really fast version of Dante’s Divine Comedy. Yet, I am hesitant of adding too many characters because I see these spaces already alive and with enough personality.


The music I selected is a mix by Doma Tornados of a 1970’s song by Argentinian singer Mercedes Sosa. Doma Tornados is an Argentinian DJ living in Barcelona and Sosa was one of the most important folk singers in Latin America. The merger of the folk with the contemporary is something that is being explored by many Latin artists and musicians, and it is a movement that I am really interested in.

Even as a work in progress I am satisfied with the direction the piece took. It was a good way to reconnect with my previous CG work. I am also glad I was able to avoid the dreaded CG look by using flat images in Cinema 4D. However, I found a glitch in when using this technique: once the alpha channel is used in several geometries it stops working correctly. This was really frustrating and I spent hours trying to fix it to no avail. Philippe suggested I deconstruct the scene and render elements separately, which is something I might have to do if I don’t find a solution soon.

Otherwise the tunnel section would have looked a bit more like this:











In retrospect I think this piece is a good example of the work I want to do for my thesis. It combines technology, Latin American myth, animation, music, and humour. It is an exploration of a mythical space where many realities collide and coexists. It is also representative of my position as both Colombian and Canadian, as well as being fascinated by traditional culture and new technologies.

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