GIF and screencaps by the author, via
Algorithmic animals become more-than-human in Raven Kwok's new music video for Monstercat imprint Karma Fields' "Skyline." The visuals were inspired by mathematical model, the Voronoi tessellation, which Kwok describes as being at the heart of the video's generative visual patterns. Though nothing new to computational artists—"Artists like Robert Hodgin, Diana Lange, Frederik Vanhoutte, Jon McCormack, Clint Fulkerson and many more have applied this model into their works in the past” Kwok tells The Creators Project—the use of the mathematical model often used in urban planning is meant to be viewed in terms of colliding planes. “Considering the visual pattern as top view of a city while the song 'Skyline' as side view of a city, we might have just built another city,” writes Kwok.
After his debut single, "Build The Cities," racked up nearly a million views on YouTube, Karma Fields dropped his highly anticipated new music video last week. Through Kwok’s visual productions—the artist is best-known for what he calls ‘code-driven creatures’—Fields has been able to develop an artistic persona, a narrative of being a form of artificial intelligence progressively becoming self-aware. Although the videos for ‘Skyline’ and ‘Build The Cities’ share the aesthetics of procedural indeterminacy from the implementation perspective, Kwok tells us that the two videos were not intentionally created as a narratively coherent sequence. However, Kwok is interested to see how the audience interest the two bodies of work based on their own background and experience.
Monstercat tells The Creators Project, “because the Karma Fields moniker is based in this concept of being a form of 'Artificial Intelligence,' it allows for Raven's work to be more immersive in the sense of creating an other-worldly experience.”
Both music videos were developed with Processing. The 3D fractal patterns in "Build The Cities" were generated based on what Kwok explains is “a cubic octree structure, which is able to recursively subdivide any specified unit of its own.”
Each project took 1-2 months to develop. In regards to how he intended the music video to be digested, Kwok explains: “I personally prefer to treat them as outcomes of various procedures. It's open for audience to interpret the videos, same way as the generation of the videos themselves, which in some way include unexpected and self-organized elements.”
While placing a veil between artists and their music is nothing new and has proven something of a commodity for artists, from MF DOOM to Gorillaz, anonymous acts like Karma Fields have the ability to transcend gimmickry, allow musical projects to transform into audiovisual experiences. Eliminating the "human" element of music creates a completely new outlet for creative input from artists for musicians, enticing a sense of mystery and the ability to build or withdraw meaning. Instead of mini-Michael Bay movies that tantalize with sexual vignetting, we need more acts like Karma Fields and Raven Kwok. Thankfully, plans to create a live performance platform that will blend both of their styles are already underway.