David W. Galenson describes two types of artists in “Old Masters and Young Geniuses: The Two Life Cycles of Artistic Creativity.” The first starts with a clear internal vision of what she wants to express and then works to realize it through artistic work. The second type of artist undertakes the act of creation to discover the latent art within the emerging work itself. I’m neither an old master nor a young genius, but I tend to fall in the second camp. That’s why I’m a neoholic when it comes to creative tools and platforms. Creating on a new platform is like jamming with a new musician. The song that emerges may resemble each parent in a particular way, but is truly its own.
Cloud Party is a new virtual world out in beta. It has in-world building and scripting tools like Second Life, but runs in a web browser. Here’s how my improvisation with Cloud Party led to this video:
When you authenticate to Cloud Party through Facebook, you start off with a set of basic 3D shapes and handful of scripted objects. One of them is a cannon. After a little tinkering I learned that many of the paramaters can be changed. You can change the force of the launched cannon ball, choose a different sound, or select a different object to fire out of the barrel.
Another great feature of Cloud Party is that you can import 3D models from external sources. Before playing with the cannon script I had imported a number of models, including a female figure from DAZ Studio. You can see where this is going already, right? Of course, what would be better to shoot out of a cannon?
After playing around with the modified cannon on the island I’ve rented, I suddenly noticed all of the bodies lying on the ground. The juxtaposition between the silly act of shooting virtual mannequins from a cannon and the visual impact of what appeared at first glance to be a pile of corpses was pretty intense. The final piece of the puzzle came when the cannon sound brought to mind the 1812 Overture. The song ended up serving as the transition between the horrific and playful aspects of the machinima.
It was only after the video came together that I realized it was mostly about the joy of creativity transcending its horrific subject matter.