EPIC-Tom, generative animation installation, 2013

In EPIC-Tom, the canine point of view is presented as an alternative outlook on everyday  action and creativity. EPIC-Tom explores the physical engagement of Tom, the canine collaborator, with a speculation on his euphoric, emotional connection to ball-chasing. The animation shows Tom’s realistically rendered physicality caught in mid-jump as he chases the ball. The generative animations and sound represent Tom’s canine desire and imagination in connection to his environment. The objective of the project is to depict the nonhumans’ subjective experience, thereby proposing an account of canine agency and mind.

EPIC-Tom was created using motion capture, animation, sound recording and computer programming technologies. Tom participated directly in the research and content creation of the work by determining the responses to the tasks at hand. While in the motion capture suite, Tom defined the specific action in relation to fun activities, such as ball chasing. Tom’s voice was recorded in a sound studio. These movements and vocalizations became the material used in the production stages of the project. During an installation of this project, custom software creates ever-changing visual combinations of the urban environment and a soundscape is generated from the recordings of Tom’s voice.

Production Team:

Animations and rendering: Jay White
Generative animations and software: Simon Overstall
Motion capture support: Richard Overington + Hyuma Frankowski
Canine collaborator: Tom
Research Assistant: Maksim Bentsianov

2013, “Beyond Human: Artist – Animal Collaborations“, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass., Oct. 19.

Supported by:

We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, which last year invested $157 million to bring the arts to Canadians throughout the country.
Intersections Digital Studios, Emily Carr University of Art + Design.