ILLUMINAZIONI (LOGO.EC 20.11.12)
Artist Chinonyeelu Uchechi Amobi has just dropped a brand new short film, ‘Illuminazioni’, a transcendental modern-day meditation that fuses contemporary technology and visuals with classical music – and it’s hosted exclusively by LOGO. We speak to the man himself to find out more.
LOGO: Tell us a bit about the film. What were the initial inspirations behind it? What themes and ideas are you trying to get across? What kind of things do you want viewers to take away from it?
CHINO: The initial inspiration behind the film came from listening to the Estonian classical composer Arvo Pärt’s sacred music for hours upon end. It was in his compositions that I heard the immutable joy and ecstasy of life, countered by a well-measured reflection upon the dark night of the soul. I became obsessed with the desire to visually augment Part’s classic composition ‘Salve Regina’ with a contemporary prayer for collective healing by embedding the technology of today’s information into the classical realms of film and music. I would like viewers to experience a timeless sense of subliminal awe in the light of creation and a spirit of reverence when viewing this film. I would like for this film to serve as an active vessel whose function is to provide each viewer with a meditative refuge, a contemplative space to rest within the speedy and turbulent currents of the simulation, enabling each viewer an opportunity to reflect upon who they are at the essence.
LOGO: Religion and spirituality comes across as being a pretty significant theme (what with references to baptism/angels/God, choir choruses, the act of praying etc). Is there a specific kind of message you wanted to convey with that?
CHINO: There is. A major theme central to ‘ILLUMINAZIONI’ is a revelation of my own personal journey of faith in Christ, before and after I was baptized in 2011 at the age of 27.
LOGO: It feels like a lot of art is trying to reach back to/express a more spiritual dimension at the moment. Why do you think this is?
CHINO: I believe right now, at the collective level, there is a strong desire to ascend. With the glowing unknown looming ahead at this sensitive point of critical mass and global unrest, a significant number of people are desperately reaching and searching and trying to find out what their purpose is in this life. They want to know what is going on at the core of their identity. As the apocalyptic veil slowly falls, revealing our tired red eyes, we acutely realize that the promises of materialism and “a good life” have failed and left us wanting. Plagued by confusion and uncertainty, the culture is now finding itself unsatisfied with the emptiness of postmodern and poststructuralist thought that has plagued liberal universities since the ‘60s. People want something more – a revolution of consciousness. Tabula Rasa. A pure paradigm shift. The pendulum is patiently yet rapidly swinging back from empty, ironic laden scepticism into the fold of the unprecedented, jaw-dropping silence experienced in the presence of the omnipotent and mysterious Almighty.
LOGO: You’ve described your static artwork as being compiled of “literal and metaphorical layers” – a technique that you appear to have carried through into ‘ILLUMINAZIONI’. Would you say that’s a fair comment?
CHINO: Yes. Many of the scenes in ‘ILLUMINAZIONI’ were composed of over 40 layers in Adobe After Effects. I think of these layers in the same way that I think of the dialectic output of aural and visual communication. Each day, at the speed of light, through a multitude of media (on the street, on the internet, on television and through conversation) we are fed disparate voices, viewpoints, data, and options. These are agents of chaos and order that form a layered or augmented landscape; a larger body of personal and cultural identity. We each have the opportunity to decide which layers to consciously and subconsciously reject, and which layers to further investigate. These decisions have consequences, echoing into further layers of influence, similar to the Butterfly Effect.
LOGO: The film obviously takes inspirational cues from video game graphics – what was the intention behind using them? And how do these types of graphics relate to the metaphorical ideas that you’re trying to express in the film?
CHINO: There is a direct focus of precise intentionality contained in video game graphics I deeply identify with. They are commonly sharp, sporty, surface, and succinct, articulating to the user critical information in a rhetorical tone. These graphics are powerful targets of visual and sonic expression and an urgent tool of communication within the contemporary framework. Referring back to the previous question, I equate these graphics to watching someone playing a video game with a third person viewpoint while his/her avatar is being guided this way and that way by an Oracle. At different points in the game, the Oracle seems to contradict herself. At some point, after learning more about the landscape of the game, after testing the spirits of the environment, after tireless investigation, it is up to the user to decide which words of guidance to internalise, co-opt and identify with.
LOGO: What was your aim behind using specific imagery and/or logos borrowed from brands (e.g. Playstation, Calvin Klein, Sony)?
CHINO: Logos are symbolically and alchemically fused with seductive and subtle energies. At their essence, they are inextricably linked to the deepest parts of ourselves – they are pseudo-religious vacuums subliminally designed to transcend our own futility. By relocating and re-contextualising these logos from materiality as an end, my aim is to transmute them into the realm of the great Logos incarnate, into an ultimate reality that is not contingent on a satisfaction self satisfaction – something much greater than us all.
LOGO: Do you have plans to make any more films in the future?
CHINO: Yes. This film is Chapter One of a book of films that will be released in volumes. Some will be longer in length, others will be shorter. Future Illuminazioni chapters will also be realized through the mediums of theatre, dance, literature, sound, and performance.
Interview: Charlotte McManus