Kate Richards has a background in critically conceived and experimental film
and video. Over the last 3 years Kate has expanded her area of production
to digital media.
Musician - Stevie Wishart
RED IRIS CD+ is an album of secular 14th Century Tuscan party/dance music -virtuosic and cutting edge, as befitting the pre-dawn of the Renaissance.Stevie Wishart's interpretation of the music is similarly lively +contemporary.
Embedded in the CD is an 150 megabyte interactive artwork. In RED IRIS interactive, multi media artist Kate Richards uses the manuscript from which the tracks were sourced, plus three contemporaneous frescos from Tuscany, as the main interface screens. These are the canvas for an historically informed rereading of connections between music, society and visual arts in Tuscany in the late C14th.
RED IRIS CD+ works as ekphrasis - a modern interpretation of medieval music and frescoes undertaken in another medium - the multi media interactive. The player explores the the 4 main interface screens by moving closely over the surface of each in search of hot spots. The player's eye thus engages with these very detailed images, teasing meaning from the arcane symbology, be it musical or painterly.
During player scrutiny, the interactive reveals and plays with the techniques employed by the frescoe artists, and by the music itself. Notably, the frescoes employ direct address to the audience; quotation of other paintings; the combining of pictorialism with allegory; commentary on the means of production, and commentary on social and political events of the time.
Historical incidents, personalities and representations of religious and secular life are re-interpreted by the modern interactive overlay. Historical research (eg the work by Giovanni Carsiniga on the manuscript), fictional extrapolations (the text frames by Kate Richards and John Stinson) and scripted video and sound scenes, comprise this re-writing.
The interactive links musical tracks with frescoe elements by the device of fictional and semi fictional text frames. These text frames locate the musical tracks within an analysis of the paintings - for example, where a real person such as Pasavanti is depicted in the Florentine fresco, an appropriate music track is hot linked to his image by a story told, in this case, by Pasavanti in the first person. Other stories take historical spring boards from contemporaneous texts such as Boccaccio's Decameron and Barbarino's Manual for the education of Women. Others still are pure invention based on an understanding of the era and a desire to bring alive the music and visual arts of Tuscany in the 14thC.
Red Iris Interactive was produced for the modest sum of $10,000 (Australian). We did the research, conception and content aquisition in Sydney, and the work was programmed in Spain at Glossa Music. The production took approximately 6 months.