Bob Potts is an artist in Trumansburg, New York. He contacted me in 2009 to document kinetic sculptures he’d made and post them, along with an earlier film which had been shot by Peter Carroll. The layout and the format were to match that previous film and the same musician, Peter Dodge, was to do the soundtrack. So my job was to light, shoot, and edit, which I did. I also designed his YouTube Channel which has thousands of subscribers. Bob is soft-spoken, intense and multi-talented. He’s a poster child for what a good video can do for an artist. Since he posted his work on YouTube his art career has taken off with shows all over the world and a gallery in Switzerland. The films we made were also featured on the website Colossal.
When we have a kickstarter or gofundme page the link to that site will be here.
The title of the piece —An All-Inclusive Presence— was originally given by Fernando to a limited edition book containing an essay and a set of images selected from a large body of ink paintings made between 2004 and 2013. There are two essential and intertwined observations at the heart of that work. One is that our long-standing identification with limited, contradictory, and extremely divisive forms of personal and tribal consciousness has alienated us from the mystery of life, the fundamental source of the human presence in the cosmos. The other is that, unless we somehow manage to overcome this alienation from our natural common ground, we will continue to live in increasingly worse forms of the same cultural fragmentation and interpersonal conflict we have already suffered for thousands of years.
Early in 2016, Peter accepted Fernando’s invitation to compose the original score that would accompany a video animation of a new selection of that same group of paintings. Peter had composed and performed music for films Bryan had done for another artist and recommended him to Fernando.The fact that Fernando’s paintings had been made on glass with the express purpose of digitizing them for the production of large-scale prints, made that particular body of pictorial work ideal for the kind of detailed animation that Bryan likes to do. He agreed to participate.
Below is an initial fundraising video done almost a year ago.
Since then we completed the first of three sections of the film, a five minute excerpt of which is shown here:
Some information about the three artists collaborating in this project
Bryan studied painting and film at Tyler School of Art and graduated with a BFA in 1986. His post-graduate filmmaking got him into the directing program at The American Film Institute where he made 4 short films in two years, won a scholarship, and attained his MFA. He spent the next 15 years working in the Los Angeles film and television industry.
He made a web-based narrative farce, spacerex.com, which he set aside in 2003, to make “Dirty Habit,” a low budget feature he wrote, directed, and edited. He has made short films for musicians, artists, and scientists and worked freelance for National Geographic, The Smithsonian Network, PBS, and Action News.
His collaboration with kinetic artist, Bob Potts became a YouTube sensation and led to worldwide exhibitions and sales of Pott’s work. Bryan’s animation of paleo-artist John Gurche‘s busts of human ancestors went viral and received 32 million views in just 3 days, and has since permeated to the utmost backwaters of the web.
Peter has been a professional musician for more than 50 years and a composer for 30. He graduated from Ithaca College in 1975 with an Applied Music degree (performance/trumpet).
He began performing his own music in the early 80’s, utilizing synthesizers and tape loops to create multi-layered soundscapes.
He has collaborated with choreographers (Nancy Gaspar, Lonna Wilkinson, Judy Brophy, Bernadette Fiocca, Jill Becker); performance/ritual artists (Cly Boehs, Dinosaur, Watchface, Leeny Sack); poet/storytellers (Peter Fortunato, Katherine Blackbird, Regi Carpenter); filmmakers (Jay Craven, Gene Katz, Photosynthesis, Peter Carroll, Bryan Root); and music ensembles (Spirit Horses, Wonder Cabinet, Cloud Chamber Orchestra); on the internet, his music accompanies illustrations of the kinetic sculptures of Bob Potts filmed and edited by Bryan Root.
Peter’s work ranges from dense noise collages to high altitude salon music, and usually features some combination of piano (grand and toy) and various wind and string instruments.
Fernando is an artist, writer, and bookmaker who lives and works in Trumansburg with Kim Schrag, his accomplice in life and art. The possibility of a radical revolution in human consciousness is his central concern. You can find out more about him and his work here: https://unboundart.com/
I was expecting to be buried deep in the credits of a film with lots of other cameramen when I got hired to shoot John Gurche at work in his studio on the reconstruction of the exciting new human ancestor, Homo Naledi, for National Geographic. Imagine my excitement yesterday, when I saw that they edited together my footage into a distinct film to itself!
Uniit Carruyo sings her own song, "Make It Up To You," backed up by Jeb Puryear (guitar), Sim Redmond (bass), Hank Roberts (cello) and Mark Raudabaugh (drums), at the newly-reopened Rongovian Embassy in Trumansburg, New York November 29th. 2014.
A Motherlode Pictures production of a Bryan Root film, House sound by John Lloyd. Produced by Dan Paolangeli. Camera by Bryan Root, Dan Paolangeli, John Gurche and Jonas Puryear. Post-Production by Will Dailyrest.
Special thanks to Jessica Giles, Calf Audio, Luigi Llanos and Gregory McGrath.
In my opinion, a video should be more more than a commercial for a band. I worked art department doing MTV videos in Los Angeles in the 90s and, while I respect the creativity of the medium, I always feel a little embarrassed for everyone when the lip syncing starts.
The tension of filming real, live music informs every second when you have good camera people. It’s a dance between the camera and the musician and when the two hit a groove, there’s nothing else like it.
For me it’s about the moment of creation–and I like to shoot a band performing unplugged, or a song they haven’t yet gotten down cold. When real creativity is happening (as opposed to lip sync) and the cameras, the mics, and the lights are perfectly placed, you can see the thrill of the moment in musicians’ eyes. You can’t fake that.
I don’t like gimmicks or narratives. I don’t care if MTV says I have to have a cut every two seconds. If that’s important to you, I’m probably not the guy you’re looking for.
If musicians want to try acting, I’m all for it, let’s write a musical or a rock opera (on my to-do list), but let’s not pretend you’re singing your own song. I mean, really… we have microphones.
I have worked with several artist over the years. Bob Potts' kinetic sculptures, (above) have become a YouTube hit, and have gotten him into art shows all over the world. His show in Switzerland sold out last year. John Gurche, the paleo-artist who reconstructs early hominids was the first person to hire me here in Trumansburg--to document his works-in-progress for a the Human Origins wing of the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C. I have shot John's work for National Geographic as well.
I worked for several months as the film director for Finger Lakes Unplugged, a social networking site. We went to music festivals, set up a tent in the performers area, bought some refreshments, set up cameras, furniture, microphones and lights, and just shot what happened next. We called it "The Green Room Lounge." And because every band had a different configuration, and the light coming in from outside was always changing, we got really good at scrambling for shots.