1. WHAT CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THIS PRODUCTION?
I worked on Les Dieux Changeants mostly from November 2020 to March 2021, taking advantage of a long period of almost complete isolation during the second Covid-19 lockdown in Italy.
The film is realized entirely with CGI and I’ve been the only person involved in every aspect of the production. I financed it out of my own pocket: the costs consisted mostly in renderfarm services and software licensing.
2. HOW DID YOU GET THE IDEA FOR IT?
It came to me the day I casually stumbled on the Internet on a 3d model of the Laocoön Group (a famous Roman copy of an Greek hellenistic statue) done by the Statens Museum for Kusnt, the National Gallery of Denmark.
I was interested since some time in dynamic simulations involving fragmentation and destruction of 3d objects and I thought it would have been interesting to employ 3d scans of old classical statues in those tests
It started as a technical serie of tests, but the project has grown to a point much further than a simple 3d work and in the end I used my own suggestions to create a short movie of it, with a philosophical significance.
3. WHY DESTROYING ANCIENT STATUES? WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?
Depicting the destruction and collapse of some of the masterpieces of Western civilization surely could look like a bold statement, but it’s very obvious that this is not a filmic transposition of real events and NONE of this is supposed to happen in real life: everything in this work is represented in an allegoric form.
The act of destroying something could acquire many different meanings, and this is what the philosophical concept of the work is about. The counterposition between negative and positive – annihilation and creativity is what I wanted to point out, and leave an open interpretation for everyone. The end quote from Nietzsche’s “Thus Spake Zarathustra” is emblematic for that.
4. CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THE TOOLS USED FOR PRODUCTION?
The film has entirely been created with 3D CGI. I produced it with 3ds Max and Vray as render engine. All the fragmentations of the statues have been created with RayFire, a plug-in for 3ds Max created by Mir Vadim. I did all the texturing of the statues with Substance Painter.
5. HAVE YOU EVER DONE ANYTHING LIKE THAT BEFORE?
I can say that this work is quite different from anything I did so far. I’ve always been focused on the union between music and motion picture in a quite abstract way, without any specific message other than the audiovisual result itself. I kept the same approach for this last work, but more essential and I included a philosophical direction which was absent in anything I’ve done so far.
6. WHAT IS THE LINK WITH THE SMK – STATENS MUSEUM FOR KUNST?
The SMK – Statens Museum for Kunst (the National Gallery of Denmark) has created the 3d scans of all the statues portayed in the film. Those 3d scans are freely available on MyMiniFactory from the Statens Museum for Kunst profile. The 3d models are scanned from the Royal Cast collection of the Museum and the scanning process has been done by voluntaries from the Scan The World project.
The Museum has a big and growing collection of 3d models made available for the public. This is part of Open, the Statens Museum for Kunst initiative to digitize their entire collection to make it freely available for the public to use, remix and re-elaborate to create new art.
This film encountered favor and great interest from the Museum and will be used by its best representatives in panels and conferences as a perfect example of what can be done with their digital legacy. In the words of Merete Sanderhoff, curator and senior advisor, Les Dieux Changeants “bears evidence to the creative powers bubbling at the intersection of crowdsourcing and open heritage”.