MEDUSA

Moving Image Experience
Motion Graphics

Blood has held mankind’s fascination since the dawn of time. Given that our early understanding was limited, superstitious beliefs naturally formed in place of pure scientific knowledge. While researching these beliefs, I had to decide what a superstition actually was and if I would include religious beliefs. As Stuart Vyse points out in his book “Superstition: A Very Short Introduction”, superstition ‘began as a dismissive term for a certain kind of religious worship.’ Essentially, the beliefs of your village were religion and truth, while the next village over believed in superstition and nonsense. With this in mind, I took superstition to include any belief without a scientific basis.





Looking at these beliefs as a whole, it becomes clear that they largely fall into one of two camps; some see blood as life-giving and something to be worshipped, while others claim that blood is dirty, unclean and haraam. The duality of blood superstitions put me in mind of a myth I had read about the gorgon Medusa. According to legend, the blood on the left side of the body was poisonous and could kill instantly, while the blood on the right was life-giving and could revive the dead. Medusa stood for the dual nature of blood beliefs; simultaneously life and death.
I designed simple vector-based illustrations of cells, arranged in a grid. The neatness of the living cells in a grid struck a stark contrast with those dying. The piece itself is one single animation, which cycles from a blue-green colour palette to reds and blacks. The blue of Spring and growth and life, the reds of darkness, Autumn and death.
I didn’t want to go with an even split screen between the two simultaneous animations and so created a set of bars that would randomly turn on and off, splitting the screen on its own accord. Following this initial trial, I worked on a variety of different split screen shapes, and ended on squares. These worked best with the grid of cells, and allowed the grid to fall into place at various places throughout the piece – a satisfying effect which is instantly upset when they fall out of place once more. While the splits are random throughout, I did manually change them at the start and end of the piece, in order to draw attention to a cell at the start and end of its lifetime.
For the title type, I chose to use Brandon Grotesque Black and Alte Schwabacher Demi Bold. The soft and welcoming Brandon Grotesque representing life, the harsh blackletter of Alte Schwabacher for death. I set the title so that they weights were similar enough to be readable as the split screens flashed on and off, but were also different enough to be jarring, and draw attention to the contrast.
I wrote a dual script, speaking about the ways divergent ways that blood is seen. The piece is designed to be viewed with headphones. The positive voiceover plays through the right ear, while the negative one is heard through the left. The narrations are played simultaneously, split down the middle like Medusa’s blood. The music is “Art of Silence” by Uniq which has the momentum to drive the voiceover forward.