I Remember when the World was Thicker

Paul McDonnell

Raw Animation

Duration: 5:20min

Medium: 3D Animation

Installation Video

Duration: 5:10min

Medium: Video of installation in RBC Media Gallery

Artisit Statement

This MFA thesis, I Remember when the World was Thicker, is an exploration in the use of simulacra and simulation, while at the same time, it is a critique of their limits and inherent emptiness. It is practice-based research into a slow, meditative, observational process that led to the question; how can a mediated response to solistalgia provide some understanding of the defuturing of the natural world that is happening all around us? Sitting within the discipline of new media, the thesis employs projected animation to remind the viewer of a world when the trees were forests, the fish and the fisher weren’t separate, and the moths weren’t trapped. It presents as digitally projected computer-generated images. Principally, the work is an expression of grief for the loss of the natural world and its replacement with the simulated. It is also an attempt to shift the viewer towards a deeper feeling of the interconnectedness of the natural world. Although the work might look like cinema, it is not from that tradition, as there is no lens-based record within it. It is in effect, a gallery installation that simulates a gallery installation of three simulacra that contain the projected digital shadows of animal, insect, and plant forms. These animations were created through research into techniques and processes that use 3D computer and A.I. image creation, including text to image software, advanced computer animation software, generative 3d forms, 3D printing and CNC machining, high resolution projection and projection mapping.

Selected Stills

From Simulation ‘I Remember when the World was Thicker

From Installation of the Simulation ‘I Remember when the World was Thicker‘ in the RBC Media Gallery, April 2024

From the Simulacra, I Remember when the Moths weren’t Trapped

From the Simulacra, I Remember when the Fish and Fisher weren’t Separate

From the Simulacra, I Remember when the Trees were Forests