The Old Man and the Sea

My week's output for the Visualist Master Class at Eyebeam NY, July 19th-23rd. This piece was written in C++ and is fully interactive.

The basis of the course was to create a visual accompaniment to a song off the Ghostly International label. Choosing The Sight Below's 'Simmer' I decided to recreate Hemmingway's The Old Man and the Sea as a serious of 3D dioramas.

In the novella, the protagonist has lost his pride and respect within the community because he has not caught a fish for 86 days. On the 87th day, a giant Marlin appears who he battles to catch. After a long struggle where he refers to the Marlin as 'brother,' he finally subdues the fish and brings him aboard. On the way back to land, the fisherman has to fight off numerous sharks who are attracted by the trail of blood in the water. Eventually, the fisherman returns to land with just the massive bones left. The ordeal can be read as the man's fight for his sense of self and purpose with the Marlin the physical representation.

My interest lay in the use of polygon reduction as a storytelling tool. 3D graphics models are made up of a series of points (vertices) that are 'skinned' to create models. The more points, the smoother and more detailed the model. Could reducing/increasing the number of points on a model be used to drive a story forward or create a emotional response? Throughout the piece the character's emotional state is represented by both the polygon count and distortion of the water.

Hopefully a first experiment of many.

Cast: Evan Boehm, Lars Berg