Martha Fiennes | ‘Nativity’ | Building the Picture

Martha Fiennes | ‘Nativity’ | Building the Picture


>>Martha Fiennes: ‘Nativity’ is an artwork,
it’s a moving image artwork, and it’s the first of its kind and within this image
the content self-generates perpetually and continuously.>>Pete Muggleston: I think the main difference
between SLOimage technology and standard film technology, is the fact that we’re allowing
the computer to randomly generate and choose the images that are put together. It’s like
an enormous chess game and it’s thinking 500 moves ahead.>>Martha Fiennes: This rigid idea of beginning,
middle and end in traditional movie making gives way to a continuous cycle, non-predictable
cycle. Sometimes it’s very desolate and crumbled and ruinous and rather depressing
in an interesting way, I think. At other times it births itself into what we would traditionally
consider a very beautiful architectural context. In gathering together all the imagery to start
making ‘Nativity’, certainly the Botticelli ‘Adoration of the Kings’ was a very significant
point of inspiration, the tondo. It’s a beautiful, extraordinary painting. There’s
so much movement implicit in it I felt, and this sense always to me of the painter’s
longing to evoke movement, which is of course what one could freely do in filmmaking, but
to give it an aliveness, a sense of narrative. And also little details of extraordinary little
things, connections with people, the monkey, and of course the Virgin at the centre.
But architecture is such an important context to it as well. And for me, I was very much
drawn to when the artist has obviously used architecture as an interpretation. It’s
not literal. It doesn’t work in a practical sense.>>Pete Muggleston: To create the perspectives,
as you know from a computer CGI point of view, it automatically gives you perfect perspectives.
But as we know from Renaissance paintings, the perspective is all slightly out. So what
we asked the computer to do was after it had put it perfect we would then just bend everything
slightly and it all came slightly out. One of the reasons we did this for certain elements,
say like a row of columns, was we wanted to be able to see more of the faces than you
would actually see in reality.>>Martha Fiennes: What does become interesting
for me about architecture and the spaces of living, is this idea of the laws of entropy,
of the continual erosion of space, whether it’s to do with weather, or the making do-ness,
or the fact the cloth appears dirty and grubby, and in the tondo we have that piece of the
makeshift wood propping up the stonework. And it’s like an ongoing process. You’re
always having to sweep the leaves from the gutter regularly, or something cracks and
gets old and you’re always keeping up the process of being human and being in the world.
And then we have this other endless energy of the force of life constantly, constantly
unfolding and manifesting itself. And it is surely the human condition to have to negotiate
both worlds, and this subject matter and this story, and these elements, and the architecture,
all echo that idea I think.

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