La Órbita

A horizontally-scrolling, animated film which consists of a slow procession of imagined landscapes, planetary systems and fragmented cities.

La Órbita (15 minutes) is a horizontally-scrolling, animated film which consists of a slow procession of imagined landscapes, planetary systems and fragmented cities. These scapes were originally produced by King in watercolour, then captured digitally and transformed into a hand-made looking science-fictional experience. The video is accompanied by a musical score by Will Saunders, adding a tactility to this work through his use of self-constructed instruments that create a tangential dialogue with the image.

La órbita’s impact lied in the gradual revelation of the passing landscapes that emerge fluidly from the light. The audience becomes the protagonist caught in the cyclical flow of the projection. La órbita operates by exploring how the mind shapes fictional universes; how these imagined spaces can then be rendered through the convergence of film and painting.

Humans exist in space, but we are also constituted out of space. Maurice Merleau-Ponty saw the three elements: ‘space, body and the subject’ as being fundamental to how we articulate ideas about time and reality. The body is also at the heart of our spatial experience of distance, direction and location in painting/filmmaking as art forms too. Historically, however, western science has traditionally framed explorations of space (between planet Earth and the other planets) as an act of ‘conquering’ the unknown by engaging knowledge and perception. From Copernicus, Galileo and Descartes right back to the Ancient Greeks, the concept of a ‘horos’ or ‘boundary’ between man and the infinite creates a split between the ‘chaotic universe’ which is inconceivably vast and limitless, and human consciousness. What happens though, when we seek to dematerialise these fixities of space and place?

The writer, Patricia García1 has developed a theory that she calls “the ‘fantastic transgression’ of space” which is relevant to my practice. She identifies certain movements in 19th and 21st century European and South American literature and cinema that go against western science’s framing of the ‘man versus universe’ dichotomy. Authors such as Cristina Fernández Cubas, Jacques Sternberg and Jorge Luis Borges are good examples. Their storytelling transgresses the ways that space and time are fixed. They do so by developing imaginary fantastic spaces within the everyday world. In Borges’s The Aleph (1949) his narrator discovers a point in space containing all possible angles of the universe in the basement of a house: “Each thing (a mirror’s face, let’s say) was infinite things, since I distinctly saw it from every angle of the universe’ he writes, and follows the discovery with this insight. “In that unbounded moment, I saw millions of delightful and horrible acts; none amazed me so much as the fact that all occupied the same point, without super-imposition and without transparency.” (Borges 1949: 129)

[1] Garcia, P. “The Fantastic Hole: Towards a Theorisation of the Fantastic Transgression as a Phenomenon of Space”.  From the journal, ‘Brumal’ Revista de Investigación sobre lo Fantástico (2013)  Vol. I, n.o 1 (primavera / spring 2013), pp. 15-35