Floating World is a dynamically generated animation commissioned for the South Lobby of the Mercedes House building in New York City. The 23-foot long installation continues Utterback’s exploration of the intersection between hand-drawn art and computer generated images. Inspired by linear scroll paintings and the site’s proximity to the Hudson River, Floating World combines painted watercolor strokes with specially designed computer software to create a flowing watery landscape across ten flat screen displays.
The animation follows computational rules designed to produce a constantly evolving visual composition. Long, translucent marks slide past each other like waves, abstract shapes reference birds or fish, and solid marks emerge from the bottom of the screen like rocks or mountains appearing to a passing ship.
To create this piece, Utterback painted and digitized all the watercolor strokes seen in the animation. She then wrote the software rules, which select, scale, and manipulate these marks in real time. When visitors encounter the piece, located above the reception desk at Mercedes House, the diaphanous color, dynamic choreography, and varied yet dreamy pacing of this piece combine to create an ethereal and primordial world.
Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville, TN. 2013