Strand of Time was an animated media piece made for Elbphilharmonie’s media wall in Hamburg. Under the theme of Silk Road, I delved into the history of dyes and textiles during the time when its reputation was at its peak. The main idea was to restore an ancient fabric and reveal its timelessness.
The chosen source image was a Chinese embroidery piece predicted to be from the Yuan or Mind Dynasty around the 14th-15th Century. It may be in tatters but is still beautiful in the traditional way.
The poem featured in ancient chinese text is a poem about time by tang poet, Wei Zhuang (韦庄).
Silk was the main trade of the Silk Road and was mostly exclusive to nobility. To express the unreachable concept – being able to see but not touch, a disintegrating effect will be used to ‘decompose’ the fabric bit by bit.
Chosen Fabric Image:
This image has been tested on MAN media wall, resolution is approved.
Mirrored to fit the entire Elbphilharmonie media wall.
The end result will be the embroidery skeleton with the combination of smoke and dust particles for dramatic effect.
The above is the first idea, which was to start off with the mysterious smoke and dust effect, then fade into waving fabric. The second idea I have is to layer the dust, fabric and smoke respectively. So when the fabric is disintegrated, a background can be seen for more dimension.
Transition Test run:
Things to work on:
Problem number one is the masking. There is some misalignment when copy and pasting a working path. This will need to be solved to remove excessive displacement. Without this step, disintegrating may not be possible.
The second problem is Linear wipe and Particles. From previous attempts, these effects can only animate in a straight line from left to right. Ideally, the parts will disappear in different directions.
The Silk Road, as its name suggests, was a major set of trade routes revolving around the commerce of silk. It stretches from Europe all the way to Asia, bridging the East and West for the very first time.
While the decomposition was a reminder that such luster were not meant for commoners. The fabric selected were thus, chosen from cultures all over the globe; retaining their raw edges and revealing the age in time.
The one thing that captivated me, out of all the research regarding the Silk Road, was Tyrian Purple, then, a symbol of power, authority and wealth. It was the first purple dye to not only produce such vivid range of pinks and violets but also said to be resistant to fade. It was harvested from Murex shellfishes, specifically the Murex trunculus, Purpura lapillus, Helix ianthina, and especially the Murex brandaris; each produces a different shade.
The dye so was highly sought after, Silk Road traders would take detours just to obtain it. One can imagine its value as its production required thousands of these little shells. It was said that “10,000 shellfish would produce 1 gram of dyestuff, and that would only dye the hem of a garment in a deep colour”. The heap of the discarded shells would also reach a height of 40 meters high.
Of all its uses, I chose to focus on its use on Byzantine Silk for its influence as the combination became the core of Byzantine silk monopoly. It originates from Phoenicia, current day Lebanon, so it is also geologically more relevant.
The research have given me vibes of the the sea, ocean and water; connotations of waves and ripples. With the thought of Byzantine Silk as my main subject, I have found that often circle motifs are painted onto the silk and would fit well with the rippling effects. The shapes of the shells are rather interesting too and might open opportunities to explore the terrain of the spiral surface. Things are not set in stone yet, but one thing for sure is that Purple will be an accent colour.