KATABASIS
2013
Video
38min 22sec

Katabasis is a 40 minute video piece by Cooper Holoweski that is screened with an accompanying live score preformed by 3 musicians. Sound design by Cooper and Doc Holoweski. For more information, please visit www.katabasis.info

One day it occurred to me that the entire foundation for our built environment is rooted in various notions of perfection; the perfect strip mall, the perfect modestly priced family car, the perfect microwave. These things are all designed to fill a market niche or replace a product currently filling the niche with a “more perfect” version. It also occurred to me that most of these “perfect things” now begin life in computer-aided 3D modeling - a medium where perfection can thrive without the constraints of gravity, scale or scarcity of resources. In my work over the past few years I’ve used the 3D modeling program Google Sketchup to construct scenes for integration into paintings. Realizing that I had amassed quite a hefty collection of these “perfect objects” I started to think about their life cycle - an object is modeled in Sketchup, prototyped, manufactured, then trashed and replaced by a better object designed in Sketchup. Katabasis is a 40-minute video landscape with live sound accompaniment that moves the viewer though an elaborately constructed Sketchup junkyard to explore the themes of death, limbo, and rebirth.

In various world mythologies Katabasis refers to a trip to the underworld. The journey of Odysseus through Hades and the death and resurrection of Lazarus are classic examples of Katabasis. In my piece the trance-like animation carries viewers through an underworld wasteland of 3D models. Together with the live performance of an evolving musical score, it will create multi-sensory experience that exemplifies this tense liminal space of Katabasis. The score itself will be performed by myself and two other musicians and consists of three distinct movements including: death, limbo, and rebirth. It is a collage of improvised instrumentation, field recordings, and audio loops that form a densely layered soundscape for each movement.