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  • Sarah C Awad

Time Capsule III: The Future

The Narrative

My narrative tells the story of an individual who walks to the Spiral Jetty and discovers the time capsule buried under the last placed stone of the sculpture. From the iteration process, I added in an extra element to the story, where the protagonist notices a red glow at the Jetty, and is compelled to investigate it, leading to the time capsule. I wanted to keep the premise simple and really pump up the atmospheric elements of the visuals to immerse the viewer in the dreamlike quality, and I think this provided balance to the final product.

The Inspiration

I took inspiration from a frequent trope in my dreams; an action or scene taking place in a first person point of view, but there is a significant glare in the POV. The glare reminds me of riding a train during sunset, and the blinding brightness blows out my view as it goes in an out of the trees. I have had many dreams depicting different scenarios that have this filter over it, and it has always intrigued me as to why.

I also wanted the setting to be significant to me and riff on this dreamlike base. One of the most significant moments in my life was going to the Spiral Jetty in Utah; I was with two other people, and the Jetty was completely in view. I had the incredible experience of being able to walk it and experience it in near solitude. It is a moment that always felt like a dream- even when standing upon it, I felt like I had found a door into dreams, or a Dali painting, or an alternate timeline. I felt this moment was the perfect location to set my narrative. I also really like Utah's significance to science fiction, which was definitely an influence on this project.

The Protagonist

I wanted my protagonist to be unknown; one thing I am super curious about is what humans will look like in the future, and I like the idea of the first person POV reflecting that ambiguity, but also acting as an avatar for the viewer to, in a way, enter my dream.

The Process

Using the glare as my primary aesthetic motif, I began by pulling a set of colors that reflected the Utah landscape, but also contrasted to the bright reds and pinks for my time capsule. I then began playing in Illustrator, loosely layering Gaussin-blurred squares over images of the Jetty, iterating until I began to find my rhythm. I liked working really loose on these, for I think it gave them a lightness that could have easily become overwrought by too much intensity. I eventually found my desired method of layering: upon the image, the first layer would be an image trace of the base image set at a low opacity to give it a baseline abstraction. I would then layer a series of squares to achieve the desired glare, using my dreams as a reference for where to place the most blown out areas. This process did eventually inspire an addition to my narrative.

The Storyboards

I started with the static images and then iterated with a video that I created using Instagram filters and the InShot app. I have presented both of them below and the contrasts between the two is very interesting; I think they both complement each other and strengthen the experience of the visuals.

I surprised myself with the final result; it feels very much outside of what I would normally create visually and conceptually, but it has definitely made me think about exploring this more, and using my tried and true mediums in new ways.

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