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Inherited Memories

©1997 Cynthia Beth Rubin

RUNNING TIME: 3 minutes 30 seconds
ANIMATION:Cynthia Beth Rubin
EDITING:Cynthia Beth Rubin
PRODUCTION: Cynthia Beth Rubin

Inherited Memories was partially produced by Cynthia Beth Rubin while artist in residence at Duncan of Jordanstone, at the University of Dundee, Scotland.It was completed thanks to the Graphics group at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island.

INHERITED MEMORIES fuses the aesthetics of painting with the illusion of movement through modulating space. The imagery alludes to real places, but the spatial tension comes from an abstract painter's play of color contrasts and decorative patterns. This work is a continuation of my interest in documenting our cultural past, including those memories of places and times that are beyond our personal experiences. It is a journey into the world of my grandparents and great-grandparents in Jewish Eastern Europe. Based on photographs from Prague, Warsaw, and Krackow, it represents the remembering of places that I never knew and that were seldom discussed, but which are a part of my cultural legacy nonetheless.


Through computer animation, I was able to carry the allure of the ambiguity of two dimensional space into an invented three dimensional space, and to allow images to fluctuate between abstraction and representation. No live video was used in this piece, and none of the places depicted actually exists as we see them in the animation.

The process of developing the work included:
  • (1)Travel to Eastern Europe to photograph places and artifacts.
  • (2)Manipulation of scanned photographs, changing angles of the photographs, eliminating traces of recent history, and identifying interesting details and decorative motifs.
  • (3) Further manipulation of the photographs into photocollages, by combining images and developing painterly surfaces, making color changes, and generally bringing the imagery into my own sensibility while maintaining a reference to the sources.
  • (4)First level of animation, done in two ways:
    • (a)Morphs between composited still images. To make the morphs fluid and continually changing, I exported interim stills, reworked these, and then remorphed using these images as part of the continuum.
    • (b) Layered movement of still images in and out of each other, with changing focus (bluriness) and opacit.
  • (5)Second level of animation consisting of repeated layering and compositing of passages created during the first level of animation.
Bob Gluck is a composer and performer of electronic music, often with interactive interfaces. His works often draw upon sound artifacts from Jewish culture. His recordings include Stories Heard and Retold (1998), Electric Songs (2003) and Electric Brew (2007). He studied piano at The Julliard School of Music (with Regina Rubinoff) and electronic composition at the Crane School of Music (with Donald Funes) and at The (SUNY) University at Albany (with Joel Chadabe). He is now director of the electronic music studio at U Albany.

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