MORGAN BERINGER: A LIFE OF ABSTRACTION
MELT YOURSELF DOWN - RELEASE!, 2013
The mind-stretching eye treats produced by Morgan Beringer have long been distracting us here at Brain Wash. Mixing up the artistic and commercial, Morgan's work has included projects with everyone from Nike to Warp Reocrds, but it's his ongoing series of abstractions and collaborations with musicians that have really spun our eyeballs around. We got in touch with the man behind the swirls and the strobes to talk about his collaborations with Matthew Dear and the ensemble band of acid jazz overlords that is Melt Yourself Down.
These things are deep digital mash ups with so much texture and physicality that you feel like you could reach out and touch the patterns, or that you're going to fall into the screen into a swirling, intricate rabbit hole of wonder. We asked Morgan to tell us more about these mind portals.
"They both resulted from experiments that involved rotating old circular diagrams of the Chinese I-Ching at very high speeds - which resulted in some interesting optical illusions. This sort of illusion is often referred to as the 'wagon-wheel effect' and it seemed to gain an uncanny symmetry when applied to these designs. So I continued to experiment and refine the effect by rotating at various speeds, zooming, adding lighting effects, etc. and the resulting two videos were born as I found both the zooming motion and the reversal of the zoom to be quite independently relevant. When I was asked to continue down these lines for the MYD videos I was able to explore these methods further using similar sorts of bold design and implementing more colour. For Release! I attempted to invert/flip the first video (as I had done with the initial two noise videos) by rotating the designs AROUND the camera instead of rotating them IN FRONT of the camera. This gives more of a zoetrope sort of effect yet still keeps something of the odd reversing motions / wagon-wheel illusions when the motion appears to come to a stillness before reversing."
MATTHEW DEAR - IN THE MIDDLE (I MET YOU THERE), 2012
The work with Matthew Dear is a series of ‘evolving artworks’, videos that look like writhing oil paintings, responding to the music, filled with the ghosts of the sentiment and the visions that haunt Morgan’s mind. This collaboration came about when Morgan was involved in an event called ‘Video Is The Only Constant’. We talked to Morgan about these times and the people he met.
“I helped to run and curate the nights with fellow video artists Christina Millare and Giada Ghiringhelli. I believe Matthew was introduced to my work through David Terranova who saw Abstraction 27 on one of these nights. He contacted me about creating a 'video vignette' or teaser/remix for Black City. The result worked out well and so we continued from there."
These writhing masterpieces are wonderful interpreatations of the music but also incredible artistic expression of their own; and an ideal marriage of creative forces. We were curious as to how the process worked and how deep the relationship between the two pieces of art go.
“The collaboration was very refreshing and rewarding in that I was pretty much given free reign to create in response to the music. I do not consider the music and visuals to be intrinsically linked as the music was created prior to my starting on the videos, but they are more connected than most 'music videos' in terms of my being able to respond as I saw fit rather than according to a brief. I even modified/remixed the tracks in several cases.”
There's clearly a lot of graft which goes into the creation of these spectacular visuals, with much more going on than just digital manipulation. Morgan told us more about the procress, and how there's a need for patience and even a little element of chance to his work.
"The technique used for the abstractions, the related music videos and the like follows one main method. Most of them are entirely constructed from still images that are 'morphed' or 'interpolated' together using a variety of time-based effects that take a long time to render in sequential passes. As such, it originally took a lot of trial and error in order to find the results I wanted. It still takes a good long while to find pleasing results as I'm never quite sure what will appear on the other end once I press the 'render' button."
A graduate in both philosophy and art, there's clearly plenty in Morgan's mind striving to express itself. With so much technique on display it's sometimes difficult to allow your mind to fully be lured into the deep distractions of visual art (Brain Wash recommends watching the videos, loud, large and in HD). We talked to Morgan about the ideas behind the art we see.
"Conceptually, I'm always keen to explore minimal notions of narrative with abstract visuals as they lend themselves to wide interpretations and applicability. Something of the mystical, a bit of unexplained illusion, and a few inklings towards how our minds make up so much of what we literally see. Hopefully they do the job!"
ABSTRACTION COMPILATION, 2009
Morgan's touches can also be found in many of the works of another favourite of ours, Ian Pons Jewell. The visual effects that have been a key feature of award winning videos like this one for Jargon (Ft. Tinie Tempah), are courtesy of the craft of Morgan. There are even a few little touches to be found in the latest work to come out of Studio Murmur, Ian's Bolivian beauty for Naughty Boy.
It turns out that this collaboration is also a result of those ‘Video is the Only Constant’ evenings. We talked to Ian and Morgan about how their collaborations came about.
“I met Ian at one of the Video is the Only Constant nights when he was showing 'Dreamt In Flesh'; Lovely stuff.”
“He used to put on these short film nights full of really weird films, these unapologetic experimental films, amazing works. One night Morgan’s own film showed, Abstraction. FUCK ME. It was incredible. This tour de force brain fuck. We chatted and eventually we collaborated down the line, with him doing nearly all the VFX works in Studio Murmur’s portfolio.”
“Our styles and influences matched well and we got going from there. Ian gets up to all sorts of projects so it varies all the time, keeps things lively.”
“Morgan’s an incredible talent, in terms of collaborating with Studio Murmur, but he’s also a visionary in his own outside works.”
This spirit of collaboration is something that allows both of these artists to achieve their vision of what they want to achieve, and it’s for these reasons we’re celebrating them here. Both Morgan’s and the work of Ian’s Studio Murmur have graced Brain Wash events in the past and we’re happy to continue to collaborate with such talents. With each doing well in their own right and together, we asked Morgan what’s next on the agenda.
"Lately I've been trying to implement some 3D animation into the equation and starting to look at transitioning in/out of the effect gradually from a video source - so should be something along those lines popping up in the coming months."
Ian Pons Jewell is currently in Bolivia with his team, building on his reputation as an award winning maker of shorts and music videos, but London-based Morgan is still working with Studio Murmur and there may be more exciting projects to follow.
“I’m still looking to do an FX-intensive collaboration together but the hooks are out there so we will see what comes along...”
See more from Morgan Beringer HERE