Wunderkammer

A chronological overview of movies and audio I’ve made and various projects I’ve been involved in. More to come.

Movies are set to loop: you will have to explicitly pause them to stop playing.

2009

Life Under The Ice: Understanding The Ice Oceans (2009) from Peter Morse on Vimeo.

This is an informational science video commissioned by the Census of Antarctic Marine Life (CAML) and Arctic Ocean Diversity Project (ArcOD), explaining their research and discoveries made during the International Polar Year (IPY), as part of the Census of Marine Life (CoML).

I was responsible for all the visualisation, computer animation and video editing, using a variety of resources supplied by CAML, ArcOD, AAD (CEAMARC) and CoML. The large iceberg you see in the middle of the video was shot in stereoscopic HD (mono here) aboard the French Icebreaker L’Astrolabe – it was about 50kms long!

Earth Data resources are derived from NASA and the NSIDC.

Script by Victoria Wadley, Michael Stoddart and Peter Morse.
Music by Thomas Kayser.
DNA Animations by Drew Berry (Howard Hughes Medical Institute).

Permission for all resources was granted by involved parties.


2008


Frozen in Time: Mawson’s Huts, Antarctica. (2008) from Peter Morse on Vimeo.

A short preview version of the fulldome (planetarium) “Frozen in Time” currently on show at Horizon – The Planetarium at Scitech (Perth, Western Australia.)

This version will be showing at the Association of Science and Technology Centres (ASTC) Fulldome Video Showcase, Franklin Institute Fels Planetarium, Philadelphia, USA in October 2008.

What you see here is a 400×400 pixel web version, stereo audio – ~80MB in h.264. The fulldome version is about 200GB.

The image is circular because it is in equi-azimuthal fisheye projection – meaning that it is designed to be projected onto a large hemispherical dome surface surrounding the viewer.

You have to imagine that the azimuth of the dome is the centre of the image, the bottom of the image lies straight ahead of you and the top and left/right fills your peripheral vision to completely immerse you in the scene.

The original is available at 3200/3600/4096 resolution, 5.1 surround sound, 30fps – creating a startling immersive introduction to the Cape Denison environment.

Produced, Directed, Visualisation and Audio by Peter Morse, with thanks to Paul Bourke (Western Australian Supercomputer Project (WASP), UWA); Pete Wheeler & Carley Tillett (Horizon): Horizon – the Planetarium at Scitech.

Especial thanks to the Mawson’s Huts Foundation (David Jensen and Rob Easther) and the Australian Antarctic Division (Bruce Hull) for making it all possible.

©Peter Morse 2008 http://www.petermorse.com.au


Artforms of Nature: A New Way of Seeing (2008) from Peter Morse on Vimeo.

A fulldome (planetarium) visualisation of three microCT volumetric datasets rendered in Drishti.

They include: (i) Liver Lobe, Rabbit liver illustrating venous and arterial (orange) systems; (ii) Interior of a lizard head (common garden skink); (iii) Fossil fish eyeball (Placoderm), 410 million years old, found in Wee Jasper, NSW.

Credits
Ajay Limaye, Peter Morse, Paul Bourke.
Vizlab, Australian National University.
WASP, University of Western Australia.

Featuring fisheye volume rendering from Drishti.

Datasets:
Fossil fish eyeball (Placoderm). Gavin Young, ANU Common garden skink. Tim Senden, ANU
Rabbit liver lobe. Tim Senden, ANU

©2008 by the artists.


Visualising Cape Denison (2008) from Peter Morse on Vimeo.

I created a series of stereoscopic (3d) fully immersive cylindrical panoramas at Cape Denison, Antarctica – in and around Mawson’s Huts in 2008

Working with the programmer Jared Berghold, we projected the panoramas using the AVIE (Advanced Visualisation and Interaction Environment) developed by the IcInema Centre at the University of New South Wales (UNSW.)

It was shown for the Mawson’s Huts Foundation 2008 Seminar.

Thanks to Jared, Jeffrey Shaw, Volker Kuchelmeister (iCinema) and Paul Bourke (WASP) for their assistance. Supported by the Australian Antarctic Division and the Mawson’s Huts Foundation.

©Peter Morse 2008

2007

“Sensation of Ice” – stereoscopic HD video, coming soon in anaglyphic stereo.


Full Dome Geometry Series: Part I (2007) from Peter Morse on Vimeo.

Four visualisations of (i) Inverted Truchet Tile (ii) Sierpinski Gasket (iii) Quaternion Julia Set (iv) Menger Sponge

Credits: Visualisation: Paul Bourke; Audio: Peter Morse (5.1 Surround) Specifications: Length: 3 min 34 sec; Frames: Fisheye projections, 4096×4096 pixels at 30 fps; Rendering: PovRay and locally created animation scripts on a 200 CPU SGI Altix.

2006

“Home of the Blizzard: The Stereoscopic Record of the 1911-14 Australasian Antarctic Expedition” – stereoscopic HD video, coming soon in anaglyphic stereo.


Antarctica Virtua Showreel (2006) from Peter Morse on Vimeo.

A brief showreel demonstrating research-in-progress upon my visualisation program concerning Mawson’s Huts in Antarctica. This demonstrates the possibility of using GIS data to create virtual landscape reconstructions, the location of CAD models and possible geolocation of photopoints using old glass-plate stereographs, which will later be matched with contemporary views of the environment.

This was included as part of the APAC (Australian Partnership for Advanced Computing) showreel 2007.



6df Galaxy Survey: Beyond the Crux (2006) from Peter Morse on Vimeo.

Quote: The 6dF Galaxy Survey has collected more than 120,000 redshifts over the southern sky over a 5 year period from 2001 to 2005. Its goal is to map our southern view of the local universe, and use the peculiar motions of one-tenth of the survey to measure galaxy mass. It covers more than eight times the sky area of the successful 2dF Galaxy Redshift Survey.

Credits:

Visualisation: Paul Bourke

Audio: Peter Morse, Glenn Rogers

Galaxy textures: Duncan Forbes, Space Telescope Science Institute, NASA, Hubble Deep Field

Data: Anglo-Australian Observatory, 6dF data date: June 2006.

Specifications:

Computing: Single Mac G5 (WASP, University of Western Australia)

Length: 2 min 20 sec.

Frames: Fisheye projections, 3600×3600 pixels at 30 fps.

Rendering: Locally developed software tools for rendering, animation, stitching, compositing, effects.

2005


Edible Audience: The Consumers (2005) from Peter Morse on Vimeo.

The Consumers

This performance arose as the consequence of the development of AVIARy – Audio Visual Interactive Augmented Reality – a system dveloped in collaboration between the University of Melbourne (Peter Morse, Tim Barrass) and the CSIRO Advanced Audio Interfaces Group (Stephen Barrass, Matt Adcock.) It utilises the ARToolkit developed by the HITLab, and was an experiment in audio augmented reality.

In concert with Alistair Riddell, Anita Fitton (ANU) and OnacloV from the Canberra school of Art we staged this rather weird event for the Liquid Architecture 6 Sound Festival at the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.

The blurb went:
(2005) To tantalise all senses, Liquid Architecture also presents Edible audience by The Consumers. Four guests dine on auditory aperitifs, feasting on the faces of the audience to produce a gastronomic sound-scape. This interactive sound art interface was programmed by Tim Barrass, and is performed by Stephen Barrass, Anita Fitton and Onaclov from the University of Canberra, and Alistair Riddell from the Australian National University. The Augmented Reality System (AVIARY) used to track the food was developed in collaboration with Peter Morse from the University of Melbourne.


Melbourne Clouds (2005) from Peter Morse on Vimeo.

Timelapse HD 1280x720P 60fps material reprocessed.

This video was shot through my kitchen window in Melbourne, using camera-control software to run a JVC PD1 video camera (1280×720 HD). For a few years I had a low-rez version on my website that seemed to be terribly popular – so now here’s the HD version, a bit of post and the original soundtrack – something I composed and performed using opensource modular softsynths on my much missed linux box.

I hope you enjoy it – it certainly brings back a romance of living in Carlton for me – Melbourne has great skies when it’s not all just flat grey – nice memories.


2004 -2003-2002-2001-2000

Various Coming Soon

1999


The Flower Tango (1999) from Peter Morse on Vimeo.

The Video & Text – Peter Morse

The Flower Tango was inspired by J.K. Huysmans’ classic `decadent’ text `À Rebours’ (1884). The libretto concerns itself with a variety of exotic and unusual plants that are described in terms of their similarity to diseases of the body, effectively inverting the standard appreciation of flowers as `beautiful’ objects.

Taking this lead the visual materials employ computer animations of flower-like forms that unfold during the course of the song – themselves a parody of the `natural.’ In this way a kind of commentary on the alien-ness of nature is explored, set in counterpoint with the fictive realism of computer-generated imagery. Both become forms of the monstrous.

The Music – Glenn Rogers

This piece is based on two distinct ideas: first is the tango rhythm, which is based on a cyclic chord progression with a bel canto melody over the top; the second is a five-part motet that alternates with the tango and is in the style of Carlo Gesulaldo (1560-1613). The tango acts as a refrain with little development, unlike the motet which becomes more removed from tonality with each entry. The barely tonal sections, chromaticism and false harmonic relations of the motet comment on the bizarre and singular genius of Gesualdo as well as a distorted perception of nature and the `natural.’

Production Notes:

All video, computer animation and libretto by Peter Morse. The music was composed by Glenn Rogers; performed by Alistair Foote, Penelope Reynolds and Samantha Podeu. Audio production by Alistair Dudfield. Actor: Peter Hardy. Shot on location at the Berlin Botanic Gardens. Produced and edited in Berlin and Perth.
Made with the assistance of the Australian Film Commission.

1998


Ozymandias (1998) from Peter Morse on Vimeo.

The Video & Text

Percy Bysshe Shelley’s classic poem (1818) is used in the video in relation to romantic and Neoclassical architecture, with particular reference to Boullée and Speer, as a kind of critique of the ideology of power articulated by these architectures. The poem `Ozymandias’ is a vivid portrayal of the vanity of demagoguery and monumentalism, explored here as a trope for the moral ambiguities of these unbuilt architectures, that stand as fascinating historical symbols of the folly of certain types of power, albeit from varying political persuasions. The strong counterpoint of the `modernity’ of the score with the inflated Neoclassicism of the architecures is an attempt to dramatise the counterpoint of these different aesthetics, both of which have struggled for power in this last century. Ironically, these buildings will ever be as virtual as they are here: fictions of history re-imagined via computer simulation.

The Music

Ozymandias is mostly based on the enigmatic minor and the enigmatic major scales. These are rather unusual and obscure scales not generally associated with Western music. In the more polyrhythmic and densely orchestrated sections the inversions of both these scales are used. In some sections notes from the enigmatic scales act as pedal points (tonal centres). From these pedal points are used their associated harmonic series and their inversions to generate a palindromic type of effect. These techniques were largely employed as formal compositional methodologies and may not be obviously audible in the music.

Production Notes:

All video, computer animation and libretto by Peter Morse. The music was composed by Glenn Rogers; performed by Alistair Foote, Penelope Reynolds and Samantha Podeu. Audio production by Alistair Dudfield. Actor: Peter Hardy. Shot on location near the Pinnacles desert in Western Australia; at the Soviet Memorial, Treptow Park, Berlin; Egyptian Museum, Berlin. Produced and edited in Berlin and Perth.
Made with the assistance of the Australian Film Commission.

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The Numbers Song (1998) from Peter Morse on Vimeo.

The Video & Text – Peter Morse

The Numbers Song outlines the protagonist’s relationship with the world of mathematics. The text is deliberately hyperbolic and performed in a melodramatic manner, in a kind of darkly humorous allusion to the roles of Vincent Price. There are various references to the Metaphysical poets and the doctrines of Neoplatonism, ironised as a kind of jazz ballad. The later French text is a mnemonic for the number Pi (if you count the letters in the words they equate with the sequence 3.1415926…) Computer animations are employed to display various types of platonic objects undergoing morphing and deformations applied in the abstract mathematical space of the computer.

The Music – Glenn Rogers

The numbers song is as much about numbers as it is about the often insipid lyrics of jazz songs. Could you imagine Frank Sinatra singing about the philosophy of mathematics? In this respect the initial sequence of the song ironises conventional jazz singing prior to moving into a darker dodecaphony. The French mnemonic for the number Pi in this second serial part acted as a basis for constructing some of the tone rows. This segues into a harmonically free section that accompanies the spoken text.

Production Notes:

All video, computer animation and libretto by Peter Morse. The music was composed by Glenn Rogers; performed by Alistair Foote, Penelope Reynolds and Samantha Podeu. Audio production by Alistair Dudfield. Actor: Peter Hardy. Shot in Perth. Produced and edited in Berlin and Perth.
Made with the assistance of the Australian Film Commission.


The Mount (1998) from Peter Morse on Vimeo.

2008. It’s interesting to reflect back on this movie – made at a time when digital technologies for video on the desktop were really just starting. This was shot on High8 in Finland, Germany, Russia and Tasmania; composited in Berlin and Perth (Western Australia) using After Effects and Premiere on an 8200/9600/Mac G3 MT Tower running Mac OS 8.x – probably with about 64MB RAM. The video compression is awful – probably all Sorenson 1 – better than Cinepak, but the first that did VBR able to run on machines those days – it took forever to render and compress. Quite an adventure: perhaps the compression artefacting really is an aesthetic quality…funny, now I quite like it. The dawn of digital desktop video, all its faults, but it was possible, and that was amazing. The audio is all ADAT/PCM digital.
“High-rez” version sometime in the future.

____________________________________________

(1998 Text)
The Video & Text – Peter Morse

The text is inspired by Heinrich von Kleist, Clemens Brentano and Ludwig Achim’s `Verschiedene Empfindungen vor einer Seelandschaft von Friedrich, worauf ein Kapuziner’ (published in the Berliner Abendblätter, 13 October 1810), and the poetry of Rilke. It is a set of meditations upon the role of the Rückenfigur (reversed figure/turned-away figure) in Caspar David Friedrich’s work (specifically the Capuchin monk gazing over the sea in Friedrich’s `Monk am Meer'(1809) in this instance) and the notion of depersonalisation as effected by viewing such works and/or the sublime in nature. The paintings of Friedrich were filmed in the original at Schloß Charlottenburg (Berlin) and the Hermitage (St. Petersburg). The visuals include several shots taken at the very places where Friedrich painted (e.g. on the island of Rügen on the Baltic coast), as well as footage shot in Tasmania’s mountainous South-West region. The idea behind this was to draw attention to the similarity of much Northern Romantic painting and nineteenth-century views of the Australian landscape. Reconstructing these types of images within a video medium demanded an authenticity of source material, recuperating the historical facts of these ways of looking at landscape and the various tropes of romantic vision that they embody.

The Music – Glenn Rogers

The idea behind `The Mount’ was to emulate the sense of romantic yearning so prevalent in nineteenth-century music. Although, late in the twentieth century, certain aspects of romanticism have been treated with irony or distain, this piece attempts to recuperate some of these sentiments without becoming mired in cliché. The form is ternary and the harmony, tempo and melodic content is all quite slow moving. For instance, the harmony is very slow to move away from the tonic key, so as to create a sense of expectation. The harmonic extensions and suspensions also give a sense of delayed resolution and anticipation. In these respects the music contains references to Wagner, Mahler and, more contemporarily, Gorecki.

Production Notes:

All video, computer animation and libretto by Peter Morse. The music was composed by Glenn Rogers; performed by Alistair Foote, Penelope Reynolds and Samantha Podeu. Audio production by Alistair Dudfield. Actor: Peter Hardy. Shot on location in Tasmania, Rügen (Germany) and St Petersburg. Produced and edited in Berlin and Perth.
Made with the assistance of the Australian Film Commission.

1997


BodySong (1997) from Peter Morse on Vimeo.

The Video & Text

The BodySong uses a kind of incantatory/lecture form of text utilising medical terminology concerned with the horizon of bodily interiority (the unseen inside). This treats the body as a kind of tube through which the nomenclature wanders, territorialising the body into zones of disembodied light (the Eye) and corporeal-but-sanitised filth (the excrementality of the digestive tract). This is in counterpoint to the `extrospective’ texts concerned with what might be termed `external horizonality’ (e.g. The Mount, with its specific references to romantic landscape painting and its Burkean notions of the Sublime). The visuals present a kind of medical lecture in which the orator is eventually subsumed within and excreted from the interior of the corpus being illustrated.

The Music

The BodySong is comprised of two very different entities: Gregorian chant and images of the body. Writing in a style that is usually associated with God and Purity and using a text that deals with excretions creates a kind of critical tension, where the nature of both forms of text is almost subverted by the other. The opening of the piece starts with two alternating chords, with the voice ascending through these chords with the appropriate scales. This then segues into a rather humorous A.M.E.B. (Australian Music Examination Board) melody. The manner in which the text is chanted is based on recitation tones (which are a formal derivative of Western sacred music). As a consequence the rhythm of the text was left to the singer. However each recitation tone functions as a tonic and often modulates to an augmented fourth above or below this. The augmented fourth is not usually associated with sacred music because of its traditionally demonic associations.

Production Notes:

All video, computer animation and libretto by Peter Morse. The music was composed by Glenn Rogers; performed by Alistair Foote, Penelope Reynolds and Samantha Podeu. Audio production by Alistair Dudfield. Actor: Peter Hardy. Produced and edited in Berlin and Perth.
Made with the assistance of the Australian Film Commission.

1996


Andromeda (1996) from Peter Morse on Vimeo.

The Video & Text

`Andromeda’ is a nineteenth century text by the poet Robert Browning (1812-1889), an extract from `Pauline’ (1833). Browning was noted for an obscure and personal iconography. The visuals counterpoise the text (one very much in the romantic mould) with a computer-modelled cemetery based on the Cimitero di Staglieno in Genoa, one of the finest examples of European Nineteenth-Century Neoclassical funerary architecture. Situated within this are various images from tombs in the actual cemetery (e.g. `Faith’ by Santo Varni (1807-1885)) and images from some cemeteries in St. Petersburg. These are used to explore the Nineteenth-Century association of female allegorical statuary with the iconography and erotics of death, recomposed within the simulated cemetery (with its overtones of computer-game imagery) and some visual references to the films of Ken Russell. This type of iconographic mélange attempts to delineate some of the liminality of death and the ambivalence of its representations.

The Music

The title music and Andromeda are both based on baroque-type chord progressions. The idea here was to write rich and dark music that was primarily contrapuntal in nature. These techniques were used to elicit the brooding and introspective nature of the accompanying visuals and romantic texts.

Production Notes:

All video, computer animation and libretto by Peter Morse. The music was composed by Glenn Rogers; performed by Alistair Foote, Penelope Reynolds and Samantha Podeu. Audio production by Alistair Dudfield. Actor: Peter Hardy. Shot on location in St Petersburg (Russia); Produced and edited in Berlin.
Made with the assistance of the Australian Film Commission.


Finish (1996) from Peter Morse on Vimeo.

Produced in Finland in 1996 by Peter Morse and Beate Daniel.

This was basically the video on which I taught myself computer animation (Infini-D); digital editing and alpha-channels (Premiere on Avid); Director (2D animation.)

Beate did the Photoshop work, produced Director animations and we had lots of fun shooting in Finnish supermarkets.

The Viking is played by Kjartan Einarson.

Music: Kaari Kuuva “Tango Pelargonia.”

To put this into historical context: this was produced at standard PAL definition. At the beginning of the final render Premiere said “estimated completion time 1 year, 6 months, 3 days, 4 hours, 6 minutes” – something along those lines. As it was it took 48hrs to render. Bizarre.

Amazingly enough it showed at the Goethe Institute in Helsinki.

Good fun & thanks to everyone at the Svenska Konstskolan who helped – pleasant memories of those days…Albert, Tommi & Hannah, Peter R, Kjartan and others.

1995 -1994

1993


The Horla (1993) from Peter Morse on Vimeo.

A multimedia ‘opera’ inspired by the short story by Guy de Maupassant, shown at the Perth Institute of Contemporary Art for the Artrage Festival in 1993.

Digitally restored from VHS. There may be some artifacting. Duration ~26 minutes.

Written, Produced and Directed by Peter Morse, Robert Frith and Glenn Rogers.

Singers: Andrew Foote; Peta Gourlay; Elle Deslandes.

Narrators: Alistair Cowie, Deborah Robertson, Peter Morse;

Music composed and programmed by Glenn Rogers.
Audio Production: Alistair Dudfield

Photography and AV programming: Robert Frith; Peter Morse.

‘The Horla’ was rear-projected on a giant screen using 9 computer-controlled 35mm slide projectors.

Review from ‘The Australian” (Fri Nov. 5 1993):

‘Next door at the Perth Institute of Contemporary Art…Peter Morse, Robert Frith and Glenn Rogers have constructed an audio-visual performance based on a horror story by Guy de Maupassant that questions the notion of disease as a social construction.
The Horla uses a barrage of extraordinary visual imagery, a complex and intriguing text, both sung and spoken, and a brilliant musical score to take the audience on a mesmerising journey into Maupassant’s own syphilitic condition. Through an often brilliant use of parody, homage and visual invention, the “opera” explores societal attitudes to disease and madness in a highly original and compelling manner.
Although the visual arts component of this year’s Artrage Festival failed to generate much excitement it is destined to be remembered for this extraordinary work.’

1992


In Tenebris (1992) from Peter Morse on Vimeo.

A photographic essay about cemeteries and representations of death. This was derived from my doctoral research into the semiotics of funerary monuments and architecture. The photographs were shot at Peré Lachaise (Paris), Kensal Green (London), Cimitero Monumentale (Milan) and Cimitero di Staglieno (Genoa) in 1990-1.

Video and Audio production by Trevor Hilton (1992)

Digitally restored from VHS 2009.

1991 – 1990 – 1989

1988


(We Are) The Fat (1988) from Peter Morse on Vimeo.

The only videoclip of The Fat, the Perth band from the late ’80’s-early ’90’s.

It was shot on BetaSP over an exhausting 24hr period in the studio and on location; offline edit on VHS A/B rolls; online edit with an amazing digital zoom on Fred’s face (it was 1988 after all, so I was amazed!) at Online Video – it must have been on an early AVID system. Now digitally re-mastered for 16:9 using iMovie (2009) – how far things have come in 21 years!

There’s a history of the band at: http://www.brilton.net/html/b/fat_history.html

1987

1986


Love Pump (1986) from Peter Morse on Vimeo.

The only videoclip of the 1980’s Perth band, Love Pump (1986). A monument to subtle innuendo, youthful enthusiasm, thinness and just having some fun. Shot in a couple of afternoons and edited on old-style A/B rolls. Now digitally resurrected to recapture those long gone golden afternoons of great hairstyles and retro-booties of the 1980’s re-imagining the 1970’s!

There’s a history of the band at:
http://www.brilton.net (somewhere under “b”)

1985


Love Pump (1985) : Surfin’ WA from Peter Morse on Vimeo.

Love Pump (v1.0) and the Mighty Ron Pickett (v1.0) burst forth in this dynamic late-nineteenth-century version of “Surfin’ WA” – the classic Western Australian Surf Number. Way ahead of their time.

Retrieved from century-old stereoscopic sequential Daguerrotypes. Now digitally restored.

What more can be said?

1984


Violin & Umbrella (1984) from Peter Morse on Vimeo.

An encounter between a person, a violin and an umbrella.

Rather dark and surreal. Slow (or is that meditative?) And very obviously of the technology of it’s time.

The first video art I did upon graduating from art school (1984), so it is ‘vintage’ stuff recovered from a VHS tape recording of a computer-controlled 4-projector slideshow (using an AVL Roadrunner computer – now ancient tech.) It was projected on big screens – because you can do that with slides! (analogue hi-def)

The photography was shot in Perth beginning dawn one morning in 1983, with my good friend Danny as the protagonist. Locations include the Swan river and freeway underpasses as well as sand dunes in Quinns Rocks, that are now suburbs. Obviously it is negatives mounted in slides, with some positives.

This was restored with great effort from an ancient VHS tape (of the original projection), synched and retimed with a digital re-master of the audio from Trevor Hilton & generally patched up.

The audio was composed on a Fairlight music computer at WAIT (Curtin) in 1984 – as well as the old upright piano, with some mics and a 4-track reel-to-reel.

The elegiac note behind it all is that Danny committed suicide in 1990 – many years ago and many years after this was made – so how strange to revisit this and see him as a young man (as he will ever be in my memory), and how sad to not know what he could have become. He was a very nice and intelligent person, a fine guitarist, and my friend. It’s dedicated to him.

1983- 1982 -1981

1978 -1977

Super 8 Animations – coming some time.


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