An Introduction to the Theory of Eclipses

eclipse (n. countable and uncountable)

1. An alignment of astronomical objects whereby one object comes between the observer and another object.
2. A seasonal state of plumage in some birds adopted temporarily after the breeding season.
3. Obscurity, decline, downfall.

An Introduction to the Theory of Eclipses has its premiere screening at Another Whole in the Head – Warped Dimension FilmFest 2022, run on-line out of San Francisco, 14-15 May, 2022. It was developed from some animated sequences I made for our 2022 Adelaide Fringe show UGLY – A NOT Fairytale, in which one of the characters was Eclipse, played by Michael Jaxon Carson. The original concept was inspired by Inori-Prayer-, a short video made by WOW Inc to promote their projection mapping system.

The animations here were very complex to make. The faces are made by an artificial intelligence system (Generated Media, Inc) that was trained on a huge library of images of real faces. This is the same system I used for a previous video: The Life We Live Is Not Itself. However, I composited real eyes (mine!) onto some of them. The final sequence of the 3D head is built around a model by ZStuff via Sketchfab.com.

The scenes themselves were composited from images taken around Adelaide CBD, Port Adelaide (South Australia) and Strömstad, Sweden. The computer code text comes from the Wikipedia page for Eclipse. The music is written and programmed by me.

The main text is derived from my animated GIF poem eclipse midsummer published in otoliths 38 (2015) and reproduced below:



This animated text in turn was derived from a more conventional poem:

We move as Jenny Wrens through leaf litter, 
one eye each peeled for titbits, for two or three
breaths above subsistence levels. Chillies ignite 
our haste, impatient for the predicted storm.

We jangle, clasp the passing noiselessness. 
Where are the construction crews, delivery vans, 
feral cats and dogs? Gates neither open nor close, 
doorbells cease to ring. Gutters flood with molasses.

We disagree over documentation: starlight at noon, 
a crescent sun, too many back-shadowed moons. 
Trees fall. Embers singe our concentration, 
re-ignite our concerns amid the smoke screen.

Yet we see no conflagration, feel no coals against
our backs (perhaps only rosellas carry flame, 
only crows transmit distress). Moths, bees, ants
swarm around our feet, now rain graces our lips.