UNIVERSITY ART GALLERY FEATURED ARTIST COLIN BOYD TALKS HIS POST-HUMAN EARTH, STOP-MOTION FILM “GALLEON”
Most artists consider their studio space to be something personal, where they create art that can hold great meaning to them. Artist Colin Boyd, however, has given the Art Museum at the University at Albany a unique exhibit: he has moved his work studio into the museum. Actively working in his stop motion film Galleon, which “presents an imagined post-human earth” as reported on the University Museum’s website, Colin presented a talk on the first Tuesday of September on the inspirations of Galleon and what this post-human world meant to him.
The University Art Museum is a small gallery space, located in the Fine Arts building on the Podium. Home to numerous exhibits besides Galleon, the space set aside for the working studio is small, but not cramped. As Boyd said, “One of the first thoughts I had when the University Art Museum offered me this chance was that I could free up some space in my apartment.” The exhibit inherently draws attention, and before the event there were many people examining the small figures lit by the studio hot-lights in front of green screen backgrounds.
Anthropocene is a concept in not only art, but science as well, defined as a possible era of human- driven geological destruction. Galleon, as well as the other projects in the University Museum’s Future Perfect exhibit, exemplifies this idea.
Boyd was greatly influenced by the environmental scares of the 1980s, and mentioned the extinction of the California Condor, which he said has a greater direct impact on his exhibit in the Albany Airport, Cormorants and the Whale. Of a greater impact to Galleon thematically was his childhood trip to Custer State Park in South Dakota. As Boyd said, “It was the first time I had really seen sprawling plains like that.” The Needles Highway in south Dakota, with its towering rock spires, also greatly influenced the design of Galleon’s landscapes.
Galleon tells the tale of creatures in a post-human world. These creatures are purposely designed to look as far from humans and mammals as possible, with their mechanical armatures visible through the soft fur, and no heads on their hollow bodies. Trial and error brought out a completely nonhuman being, that while mechanical in appearance, is astonishingly expressive and life-like in the film.
The concept for Galleon began as a short science fiction story, with a focus on a Noah’s Ark-type ship called the Flagship Galleon strapped with a harpoon gun. It ended as a non-narrative piece that was eventually worked into the story for the film Galleon. Non-narrative and nonlinear pieces are a theme enjoyed by Boyd. He said in the talk that “he enjoyed starting a project in the middle, because it gave you room to work both backwards and forwards.” While galleon looks at the future after humans, it doesn’t give us much of a middle, of what happens to cause our downfall and the rise of such strange, nonhuman creatures. Boyd said, “most of the interaction and creation of Galleon is done from impulse”, so there is hope that further on in creation we might see a glimpse into our future, and Galleon’s past.