NEON & CONCRETE
IN BRIEF: To provide a collaborative media project bringing together short stories based on neo-noir and existential aesthetics with inspiration from the art of 3D render community.
THE BLURB: I am a long-time believer in the power of collaborative media.
No doubt there is the (rather precious) idea that — especially in writing — the image drawn out by the writer should be between the writer and the reader alone. A contract of sorts is created between the two, in which a promise seems to be made to not affect the imagination of the reader through other forms of media.
Images, video, etc, seem to be frowned upon and nulled, in order to let the imagination of the reader run wild.
I believe this idea holds true, and for the most part, it is largely a universal truth that the original book that a screenplay may be based on, is always better than the movie, and in many cases, would have been better if it were left alone, and left up to the imagination of the reader.
However, in recent years there’s been a trend towards things such as book trailers and I believe there is always room for manoeuvre. There’s leeway available in which one form of media can not only help, but possibly catalyse the imagination of the reader into finding something even grander than they originally may have thought possible.
My first attempt at developing this idea was with my first novel, Concrete Operational. This project involved five artists and five musicians creating original art and music based around five themes of my manuscript.
The novel was broken down into these five points; love, anger, madness, jealousy and desire. Each artist and band were given a 2,000 word extract based around one of these themes and asked to create something original that was inspired by it.
This culminated in a multi-media launch night and an art, literature and music exhibition in central London. Patrons could view the art, read the words it was based on and listen to the music simultaneously. A short film was also produced, alongside a limited run of box-sets which had the seventy-two page art book, five track music album and my novel contained within.
The project was largely considered a great success and really was a solid demonstration of multiple disciplines coming together to produce a collaborative whole which surpassed the individual mediums alone.
- More information available at: www.operationconcrete.com
The product of this has been two flash fiction series:
Outrun Stories — Sci-fi short stories in 600 words or less deriving from the Outrun, neo-noir and NewWave aesthetic.
Brutalist Stories — Sci-fi short stories in 600 words or less deriving from the stark style of the functionalist architecture, that is characterised by the use of concrete.
Based on these points of inspiration, I have written over 100 pieces of fiction, each of which has either a point of inspiration drawn from a piece of Brutalist architecture or Outrun music. With each story the point of inspiration is provided to the reader to either view — with Brutalist Stories — and paint a picture in their head of the story that is taking place within or around the particular building. Or in the case of Outrun Stories, listen to the music and have it almost as a soundtrack to the story itself.
The idea behind NEON & CONCRETE is largely the same; to generate a collaborative project in which short stories inspired by 3D render artists are created.
In recent months I have been heavily drawn to, impressed and inspired by the 3D render scene that seems to be growing at an exponential rate on Instagram and across portfolio sites such as Behance. Certain artists have been particularly inspiring, and after reaching out to a handful of them, I am extremely happy that two in particular agreed to allowing me to write short stories based on their work and publish it — with accreditation — to the NEON & CONCRETE project.
First, we have Mike Winkelmann AKA Beeple. Mike’s work is renowned across the internet, he is a highly sort after render artist and has a back catalogue of work that any artist from any genre of work would be humbled by. His imagination runs wild on the digital canvas and produces work that I was immediately drawn to. As you can probably see from his work above, it is obvious why I asked him to be the inspiration for the ‘NEON’ part of the project. His artwork draws many points of inspiration from the neo-noir, outrun, cyberpunk aesthetic that I wanted to have for half of this project. This is why, I asked if I could work with his art to generate short stories, inspired by what he has created. Initially there will be three in total.
Second, we have Jon Ojibway aka Ozhichige. Jon is relatively new to the scene — in comparison with the likes of Mike — but as soon as I came across his work I found inspiration. Not only is it of outstanding quality but the vision is perfectly suited to the ‘CONCRETE’ side of the project. Jon’s work is epic, grandiose, awe inspiring and perfectly shaped and formed to work with the more existential ideas and train of thought that the ‘CONCRETE’ side of the project will align with. The same as with Mike, there will be three stories inspired by a selection of Jon’s work to begin with.
These two artists are the founding basis for the project, which will, in short, create short stories based on neo-noir and existential aesthetics that their renders help inspire.
The hope for the project is that as the art and the words come together, the reader will be inspired and have their thought provoked, that they will be entertained and able to draw up a vision in their mind that gets the cogs turning.
I hope you enjoy.