In collaboration with Meichun Cai.
Myths, indigenous religions, and shamanist religions often depict the transitional human body as a praxis of cosmological metamorphosis and plurality. Metamorphosis is a special relationship between the mind and the body. As the mind transforms, the body visually transforms from one being to another with force and character of the mind. The mapping of the mind and the body is non-linear and not specific to one individual as the modern society takes for granted. Little by little, like a set of nesting dolls, the elusive human form disintegrates, and a new body transitions into a different shape every once in a while.
Project Metamorphosis arose from our mutual interest in mind-body relations. This series of experiments, apart from various visual effects, implemented several key concepts. First, the idea of energy of a body being visualized in virtuality. The first transformation involves flame-like energy trails that expand the body.
Second, the idea of camouflage and mimicry as seen in cuttlefish and octopus, whose skin reacts to and assimilates to its environment not only in color and pattern, but also in 3D textures. In one sequence in Metamorphosis, AI-generated latent walk image dataset from natural minerals was applied to the surface of the body, so that the body itself is a manifestation of what they “see” and “sense” of their surroundings. In later developments, we hope to situate the moving figure in a mineral environment whose geological features correspond to the body’s transformation like a cuttlefish that constantly seeks unity of the body and its milieu. Third, the idea of the hivemind, which means multiple species, beings, or bodies that are inhabited by one mind. We scattered increasing number of smaller walking bodies on the walking body in the last sequence of the video, but we applied an inverse algorithm to the size of the sub-bodies so that their size decreases with a small noise as their number increases, making the sub-bodies’ motion link to the main body, or disperse them across the field, and “see” from the eyes of each of these bodies.