04/09/2012 – World Riddle

I was first introduced to the work of Ernst Haeckel by West Cork-based musician Clodagh Simonds. Clodagh had used some of Haeckel’s images to illustrate and accompany her atmospheric music and songs.
I was immediately struck by the other-worldly quality of these unique drawings and began to wonder what it must have been like, as a Victorian, to have gazed on these depictions of microscopic sea life never before seen by the naked eye, let alone by the general public.

So from the start my intention was to create this same sense of wonder in today’s image saturated world, whilst also embroidering some of my trade mark ambiance into the fabric of the material.
I then made contact with an old acquaintance, sound artist Slavek Kwi with whom I had worked with on a group exhibition in Limerick. Slavek has for many years been recording marine environments with a variety of specialist equipment, and has produced a wealth of fine sounds-capes and music on his Artificial Memory Trace imprint. I sent Slavek some early motion video manipulations of Haeckel’s work and he sent back a selection of culled and manipulated sound files. I took these and further warped, manipulated and combined them into one coherent piece, this was then combined with analogue synthetics, slowed down, warped some more, remixed and so on to create the background atmosphere that helps connect this “other world” emotively to this one.

The images were subsequently created out of Haekel’s original engravings through the process of digital editing and live motion control. These were then further fed through a fluid-filled lens that contains an active fluorescent liquid designed to mimic the naturally occurring marine phenomena of bioluminescence.

Design, concept and build by David Bickley

Music by David Bickley and Slavek Kwi

CGI, David Bickley

Additional build, Paul Cialis.

Special thanks to Ian McDonagh and the Cork County Arts Office for continued assistance and encouragement.

David Ian Bickley
00353 087 6983033

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