For the third year in a row, work by CalArts alum Erik Mondrian (Music, Critical Studies-IM MFA 19) has been selected by Supernova Digital Animation Festival, an annual showcase of experimental digital animation and motion art hosted by nonprofit Denver Digerati. The festival will run virtually throughout the month of September, and will also offer multiple in-person activations in Denver.
For the 7th annual festival, which features the theme “7th Dimension,” Mondrian’s video art work Synthesizing Pixels was selected as part of the “Everything Abstract Sonic” competition program. The video was created in the online virtual world Second Life. Mondrian employs a filming technique known as Machinima—cinematic productions using real-time computer graphic engines like video games to generate animations. After capturing footage within Second Life, Mondrian edits the clips, applying various visual effects and music.
Mondrian’s Machinima works have been featured in the past two editions of Supernova. For 2021, Mondrian created “Underwater,” a minute-long video art piece specifically formatted to fit one of the Colorado Convention Center’s LED screens for the festival’s Silent Screen event (fellow alum and former School of Art faculty Tyler Calkin-Low (Art-IM MFA 11) was also selected for the program). That April, his work Tripping Through Skyscrapers was also part of Supernova’s compilation reel and monthlong outdoor projection commissioned by the Denver Pavilions open-air shopping mall. In the 2020 edition, three of Mondrian’s video works were selected for the festival’s fifth edition, including his CalArts MFA thesis For the Light of Other Shores, a collection of 10 short videos filmed in Second Life.
Mondrian discussed the impetus behind his thesis in a 2019 Q&A with 24700:
This originally started because my mentor in creative writing, Jon Wagner, wanted me to do something that combined voice, writing and integrated media. This way my thesis could address all three of those areas that I was studying. Jon also co-founded the Creative Writing program at CalArts, and he’s talked about how he is eager to see projects that aren’t solely on the page. He also teaches contemporary and classical film theory, so I think he liked the fact that the texts I’d written ended up in these short films.
Tickets for Supernova 2022’s in-person events are free and available on Denver Digerati’s website.