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Universal Everything’s work Presence 5.1 is part of the Presence series that consists of 24 films created from six separate dance sequences – each with four variations. Founder Matt Pyke was motivated by the desire to illustrate the simultaneous harmony and tension between drawing, architecture, human mobility, CGI and interaction. In order to achieve this, he initiated grand collaborations together with choreographer Benjamin Millepied and his LA Dance Project, architect Irene Shamma, composer Simon Pyke, animator Chris Perry, and programmer Mike Tucker using the latest motion-track technology; with the team set out to create the perfect balance between abstraction and figuration through an exploration of form where movement feels alive, vital and not synthetic.
Presence 5.1 is a striking example of how modern technology and innovation can show what makes us human in a whole new light. The animation of a dance between two people, completely abstracted into colour and line, is complete because the living form reveals itself within the abstract form, not vice versa. Pyke: “I have long been exploring the delicate balance between figurative and abstract forms. How far can you abstract a human form and still feel a living presence? This strand of anthropomorphism, though hinting at limbs, eyes or movements makes the work come alive.”
Universal Everything is a UK-based digital art and design studio founded by Matt Pyke in 2004. Their distinctive visual approach and pop-sensibility has made them a studio much sought after both by leading institutions in the art world and by sophisticated brands in the commercial world. Universal Everything’s work explores the tension between abstract and figurative form and the synthesis of sound and image, leading to expressive, vibrant digital works imbued with emergent life and anthropomorphism. Central to the studio’s practice is the exploration of human and emotional presence.
Universal Everything’s origins are in design and film direction, which has enabled them to infuse their expressive animation and moving image work with a graphic style, radical colour palettes and a fundamental fascination with form. Their creative process is led by an experimental approach to materials, allowing them to paint and sculpt with new technologies and formats that include 3D printing, touch screens, motion capture and large format video displays. Sound is intrinsic to their work, stimulating visual reactions and amplifying emotions. Each work is accompanied by an original music composition.
Matt Pyke: “I’m interested in bringing life and empathy into digital art rather than keeping its cold, abstract, machine sensibility.” This ambition has lead to the creation of expressive, vibrant digital artworks, embodied with emergent life and anthropomorphism. The latter is a prominent theme in Universal Everything’s work: lifeless matter becomes moving object by using visual projections that allows the animation of abstract textured shapes.
Working with a range of collaborators that include programmers, architects, musicians and choreographers, Universal Everything’s work spans a variety of disciplines and moves fluidly from film direction and identity design to mobile software art and site-specific video installations. They have undertaken bespoke commissions for numerous brands and bands including Chanel, Coldplay, AOL, Intel, Nike, Hyundai and Deutsche Bank. In addition, their work has been exhibited internationally including: the Museum of Modern Art (New York), Media Space (London), V&A Museum (London), Central Academy of Fine Arts (Beijing), Garage Centre for Contemporary Culture (Moscow), La Gaite Lyrique (Paris) and Art HK (Hong Kong).
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