As the artists researched the era, they came to realize that during these years, Berlin had grown rapidly into a very cosmopolitan city and radical changes had occurred. The artists found numerous unexpected similarities to their work that made that time particularly resonant to them. The handling of volume, space and proportion in the Neoclassicism of the late 19th century was familiar from their work with the digitized human figure. They found a connection as well within the Jugendstil, or German Art Nouveau, especially in the typography and music that was related to it. The typography was one of its distinguishing characteristics and in a number of ways it relates visually as well as conceptually to our 21st century work and with what the artists see as the typography inherent in the human form. The style’s organic, floral appearance was inspired by nature and the resulting curvilinear froms are evocative of the artists’ digital sectioning of the three-dimensional human figure. Modernism that followed brought with it an acceptance of technologies that allowed one to reconfigure and re-imagine the world in ways unforeseen until then, much as modern digital technology has impacted the world today.
As foreigners looking voyeuristically into this culture, the artists appropriated the French term “flâneur” to describe an outsider’s experience of the city. For the video they move through that era using digital avatar/marionettes created using motion capture technology and three-dimensional scans of dance performers. These marionettes have the advantage of being weightless, a property most resistant to dance, and they will appear graceful, without the consciousness that afflicts their human counterparts. flâneur will take the viewer through the cultural changes sweeping the era using these marionettes and three-dimensional architectural models. The artists plan to deconstruct both the human and the architectural models similarly to the way they have treated the figure in the past, to rupture, puncture, section and unfold their skins as a means to re-visualize them and to explore their volumes in unique ways. They are approaching the narrative of the piece as a fairy tale and collage. By referencing two writers of the period, Friedrich Nietzsche and his influential approach to architecture, and Carlo Collodi, author of The Adventures of Pinocchio, the artists intend to abstract and meld these divergent sources into a contemporary whole and to also introduce a sense of transcendence into the work.