The affordances of the Internet — a vast, freeform, networked system of publishers and consumers — have altered the ways we perceive and share information (and mis-information) in the last few decades. Specifically, the online spread of information has been an enormous part of our experience of COVID-19 and the increasing political divide in the united states. Public news media, governments, organizations, social media, and individuals have worked, in turn, to terrify, inform, overwhelm, connect, inspire, offer hope, and to offer laughter over the last few years.
Songwriter and UNH Professor of Communication Kevin Healey responded to this onslaught of information (and mis-information) by writing, composing, and performing original music, and then asked me to respond to two of his works visually. The music for Dolphins in Venice was completed early on in the pandemic in 2020, and I worked on the imagery and animation during those spring and summer days of lock down.
The music for this piece felt deeply nautical and steeped in the past to me, rich with themes of illusion, nostalgia, surrealism, and artifice. The raw materials for the imagery, which I cut apart and collaged back together, come from the open source digital archives at the New York Public Library and the Smithsonian Museums. The visuals do not directly illustrate the ideas found in the lyrics, but instead evoke sensibilities that build on the tones of the music and the emotions of the words. I chose to reveal the physicality of the images, showing the viewer the edges of vintage postcards, the boundaries of etchings, the imperfections of prints.