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The Voyage Prototype



(45 Second playback - 556K)

The Voyage is a multi-media spectacle. The idea of The Voyage is that of an individual human being's mental/emotional self or "soul" traveling through the time and space of human culture, particularly through the visual, plastic, and architectural artifacts that human beings have created as an expression of the human spirit in every corner of the globe. Of course, this journey must be conditioned by the life of that individual, including his loves, and the losses that life brings to all of us, caught here between the metaphorical millstones of time. And since no visual survey of humanity would be complete without a figurative visit from the four horsemen of the apocalypse, The Voyage includes that most unfortunate of human activities, a war.

The concept for The Voyage was originated by Jan Sawka, who created over 1200 hand-painted images using watercolors and other paints, pen and ink, and other types of media on standard watercolor paper (10" by 30", I believe). The artist designed the images to be viewed in sequence. After being scanned to digital forma, the images will form a “visual track,” which will be coordinated with a pre-recorded musical “sound track.” The transitions from image to image, along with some manipulation of the images themselves, will employ various digital effects, basic among them the slow dissolve. Through these manipulations, the number of images will be extended to over 2000. In its final form The Voyage will be projected on three screens. The distribution and sequencing of the images between the screens will be an important part of the visual experience. The original images use very saturated colors, so that the images can be projected on a monumental scale and still have the maximum impact, As the images sequence through, transforming as they supercede one another, a kinetic, temporal aspect arises, an uncanny dynamism blossoms among the stillnesses, giving the experience of The Voyage a dream-like, visionary feel.

The music of the spectacle was written and performed by the late Czeslaw Niemen, an internationally known Polish contemporary musician and composer. Sawka and Niemen collaborated on the stand-alone excerpt of the full Voyage that received the Lorenzo il Magnifico gold medal at the 2003 Florence Biennale, with Nieman timing the display of the images to his music.

The technology used to transfer the images of The Voyage to digital form, the hardware and software used to prepare the spectacle, and the DVD projection system are all at the very leading edge of technological development. For example, the projection system is capable of such magnification that the "tooth" of the watercolor paper is visible. The distance between the projector and the screen is very short, given the size of the screen, so that The Voyage can be shown in a wide variety of spaces, from gigantic stadiums to small theaters.

The full-scale version of The Voyage will premier in China, where it will be projected upon at least three very large screens (circa 50 x 50 meters) for audiences numbering in the hundreds of thousands. It will then tour the countryside in mobile units, which will set up at village fairgrounds, marketplaces, etc.

The Voyage intentionally combines the ethos of the handmade, of the Renaissance emphasis on desegno, which emphasized the skill and talent of the individual artist, with the most modern digital technology and the collaboration of the most elite of production teams.

The stand-alone excerpt of The Voyage that won the gold medal in Florence, a display of digital photographs of all of the individual images used in that excerpt, together with an earlier prototype of The Voyage will all be on view at the ACA Galleries.

- Dr. Frank Boyer
Director of Communications
The Sawka Team




All artworks/images copyright Jan Sawka Estate