Morgan Seal The Fusion of Science and Spirit

  • Kaiako / Lecturers
    Don Chooi, Jim Murray, Eddie Wong, Jocelyn Janon, Tammie Leong
  • School
    Media Design School

In the modern world, there is a growing tendency towards sharply separating the study of the natural world around us into distinct academic disciplines. Often resulting in us choosing paths that align with these divided versions of ourselves; the scientifically minded pursue logic-based subjects and the artistic pursue creatively based subjects. But the overall effect remains the same, the loss of wonderment that is achieved with holistic understanding of the world and what makes it tick. In my experience, the study of mathematics has suffered the most from this perception. Instead of seeing mathematics as the building blocks that inform the entirety of the natural world around us, seamlessly operating beneath our perception, mathematics is seen as one of the most concrete and gate-kept of the scientific disciplines. My goal is to dispel the long-held belief that the study of mathematics/science has to be alienating, rather than connective and artistic. Instead, my project shows that mathematics is at the core of all things, and is, in essence, familiar.

For this reason, my research question is:

How can visual language be used to convey the connection between science/mathematics, nature, and spirit, as well how they relate to the world around us.

Which in practice boils down to the problem statement:

To find a unique way to illustrate the role of mathematics in the physical world, i.e., an artistic “mathematical aesthetic” such that the mechanics behind nature are made understandable for a general audience.

To answer this challenge, I have chosen to make a short film using the medium of VFX/3D animation. In making this film, the focus was always to approach the problem statement from an artful perspective and lead with the emotions of the symbolism rather overemphasise the academic. Using the idea of a ‘Creation Story’ as a thematic anchor for this project provided a more universal framework for the art direction and helped me to maintain a thematic consistency. Taking this approach also helped with the narrative structure, in that I was able to abstractly present the ideas behind the project as a visualised cycle of elements. Each asset speaks to a different symbolic element: mathematical science, biological science, spirituality and finally, nature. The assets, such as the heart, have been depicted at a high level of mathematical and biological accuracy using a software known as Houdini which specialises in generating ‘particle based’ VFX like water and fire. In short, the film attempts to visually connect these assets together, showing not only how they are linked, but also the beauty in their interdependence.