Alejandro Escobar

Smells like chicken – Collaboration with artist Jennet Thomas

Around June 2016 I started talking with artist Jennet Thomas, we thought that it could be interesting to explore some sort of collaboration involving animation and photogrammetry.

So I spent the rest of the summer learning how to rig and animate a 3D model, I also did some experiments to learn how to properly create a digital copy of an existing object through the use of photogrammetry.

I worked on two different subjects, first, I made a quite basic model from a stuffed fox that belonged to my wife.

Then I added an armature and animated it.

After this first test, I wanted to work with another character, a rubber chicken that Jennet gave me as a present. This is what I managed to create:

From here, Jennet and I started to discuss how to bring to life the two central characters of a project that she was already working on.

The aim was to create two digital replicas of her partner wearing two different costumes. These replicas will then switch places with the actual actor performing in different digital scenarios.

This image shows how Jennet captured the real-life performance that she later digitally placed inside the virtual space.

So we found a proper location and ran a photo session getting more than 100 photographs from each character.

Afterwards, I used Photoscan software to create two 3D models. The results were entirely unexpected.

However, after having a look at the resulting 3D models, we agreed that the unexpected results actually created new opportunities for experimentation, so we decided on doing a series of experiments using both characters and some of the results were actually incorporated into the final video. This is a series of videos showing different creative approaches.

In the end, I sent all the footage to Jennet. She curated the footage and digitally composed the images using Adobe After Effects.

This is a video of the trailer used to promote the first of many presentations.

This piece was launched at Block 336 in Brixton as part of a Jennet Thomas exhibition.

Apart from being selected for screening in different events like Electronic Voice Phenomena (Liverpool and Shoreditch), Antimatter Media Art Festival (Canada) in October 2017, the Chicago Underground Film festival 2017 and the Peninsula Arts 2018, it was also nominated and shortlisted for the International Media Arts Festival award 2017.