Like a couple other artists in this exhibition, Rindon Johnson was inspired by ‘Notes On A Conditional Form’ to produce a vision of utopia. “In almost all my work,” he says, “I like to make sure that if I’m animating a different type of reality, it speaks to the possibility of a different state of being and relation. So I wanted to set this film in a permaculture city; one that lives harmoniously with the earth and encourages the slow stillness of being in direct dialogue with one’s natural surroundings.”
In Johnson’s computer-generated city of tomorrow, the sidewalks are made of packed earth and orchards grow on the street providing healthy food for all. Clean energy come from wind turbines and solar panels on the roofs. It’s a greener, more socialist vision of urban society, but also a charming and sexy one.
The film’s narrative came to Johnson organically upon hearing the song for the first time, he says: “I closed my eyes and sort of felt the movement of a really gentle dance and thought it might be a nice way to speak towards that sensation. To think about different forms of closeness. I also didn’t want to do anything too over the top because the song demands something quiet and straightforward; a kind of direct address to another person.”
His character takes a walk through the neighbourhood one evening, listening to the uplifting piano ballad ‘Don’t Worry’, and looking up at a window, happens to catch somebody dancing on their own. The two strangers share a moment of intimacy together through the window. It’s a moment of empathy and perhaps erotic frisson; a socially distanced romance.
During this time of crises, particularly in urban centres and in the United States, many of us have been thinking about how modern cities and societies can be improved; and Johnson has not only been dreaming of what these cities could look like, but also of the kinds of lives we might live within them.
Animation by Pariah Interactive
Motion capture data used in this work were obtained from http://dancedb.cs.ucy.ac.cy, the Dance Motion Capture Database of the University of Cyprus
Rindon Johnson responds to ‘Don’t Worry’