January 30, 2015
LOS ANGELES, California – My colleagues from the USC Game Innovation Lab and I spent the morning at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) conducting the most rarest of research activities by looking closely at actual source material. We were there to see, then deconstruct*, the seminal works of the Hudson River School – as represented by the exhibit Nature and the American Vision – whose aesthetics of beauty and politics are a primary reference for Walden, a game.
I was reminded Immersive Environments and Virtual Reality are rooted in Painting.
We scattered and swarmed; as we fell into discussion and into the world of the paintings. Our virtual ferry ride up the Hudson River was guided by the School’s founder, Thomas Cole, who shared with us his favorite vistas. We delighted in Turrell’s luminescence before returning to actual reality for lunch off a truck.
* Deconstructing Hudson River School Paintings
P. O. V. & Composition:
….slightly above eye-level, as if standing on a boulder.
__The horizon line is drawn below the center of the composition.
Light & Color:
….creates a sense of depth.
….holds detail even in the brightest and darkest areas, like HDR (High Dynamic Range) Photography.
__The foreground uses deep, rather than dark colors.
__The middle-ground uses a vivid color palate, and pools of light.
__Distant terrain and the sky use a pastel color palate with luminous, slightly over-exposed lighting.
__Atmospheric haze softens the image, pushing focus to areas without the haze.
__The sun is rarely rendered.
Man & Nature:
__Including man and man-made objects provides a sense of scale.
__Man is not glorified and is in harmony with nature.
__Nature has a glorified grandeur and hyper-realistic quality
“The love of the natural world shines through in these works. Because when I get up close to them, I’m admiring the effort to move between the big and the small, and the reality and the grandeur. It almost feels like moving between what you see and what you feel.” – Lucas Peterson