Visual Aid

My companion to the ballet last week was longtime friend Michael Mattis, a professional blogger for Yahoo! who writes “The Sophistocrat” column at, my other site. His latest project is called and is aimed at aspiring oenophiles.

During intermission I remarked how the audience for the ballet and opera is noticeably younger than for music. The crowd for small chamber concerts like Pacific Serenades or Jacaranda is almost entirely geriatric.

I speculated that the younger audience likely has a lot to do with the fact that ballet and opera are visual art forms as well as auditory, and that we live in a visual age in which our dominant art form is cinema.

Mattis then suggested that perhaps a way to attract younger audiences to classical music concerts is to incorporate more technology-aided multimedia elements, as in the LA Philharmonic’s recent “Tristan Project.”

Sure enough, a couple of days later Mattis sent me a link to the video below, which became a surprise hit on YouTube last week. It’s a fine example of using modern technology to enchance our experience of centuries-old music and art.


I e-mailed the filmmaker and here’s his reply:

The video sat on YouTube for a month with only about a dozen hits a day. Last week at this time it had about 800 views. I assumed it was destined to become nothing more than an underground film that would only be appreciated by a very few. A week later it is on virtually every video website on the planet. Last night it was on the front page of YouTube and MySpace at the same time and I was getting hundreds of messages.

Picasso” was my first film specifically involving paintings. I knew there had to be some way to make an interesting film out of classic art. I toyed around with a few ideas for about a week until I finally came up with the morph idea. I found it to be the perfect way to capture all the styles Picasso employed in a relatively short time. It also focused on the face which is probably the most recognizable image that we, as humans, see.

After doing the Picasso film I started messing around with creating morphs from the works of Raphael. The first thing I noticed was that the eyes looked almost human as it moved from one painting to the next. Soon a thought occured to me: Why not explore all of Western art from the Renaissance to the Modern in one film? I decided to focus on the female form, perhaps the quintessential motif in Western art.

That’s the basic story. As to who I am, I’d prefer to remain anonymous. You can call me Eggman. Quite frankly, given some of the racially charged comments on YouTube, I’m not sure if I want to be known. It was never my intention to upset anyone.

It’s high time we got a good discussion going in the forum, so here’s a chance to share your thoughts about technology and art.

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