Sunday, 27 September 2009

The Minor Project Begin - To the Mountains of Madness

Ok so start to a new year and I started it with a bang as the week fell on my birthday week so most of the start of the week was spent living it up and enjoying myself, combined with a rather brief briefing and 2 short minute tutorial. One of which being my minor project tutorial.

Over the summer I spent my time trying to come up with potential ideas for this year’s projects as well as attack my dissertation and of course enjoy the sunshine which by April time this year I was craving with avengence.

When I was younger I used to watch documentaries about Ancient Egypt and other such mighty civilizations l as well as Time Team and I always used to be fascinated by the recreation in drawings and CG, so I thought it would make sense to do something like that for one of my projects this year.
While I was conceiving potential ideas for what I wanted to do I’d realised after a friend of mine and class mate (Lab) created a piece of work based on Atlantis the lost city and in a way i wanted to do something similar and take the unknown or the mysterious and show it to people, with artistic licence of course to make it my own.
While in this trail of thought I went hunting through the internet for documentaries which talked of ancient civilizations lost in history and I stumbled across this:
Graham Hancock's Quest for the Lost Civilization
I thought I’d put up a link as well as it was a really good watch
Enjoy :)

Part 1 (Despite the retard that uploaded it labelling it as part2)

Part 2

Part 3

While on the summer break the ideas I came up with were as follows:
The first idea for my minor project (bearing in mind my dissertation was about escapism) was to have a lad sitting at his computer in his room. Then him start to play a game then as the game starts a giant mech starts to fade in around him from thin air as a metaphor for escapism and being immersed in a game, his chair and computer would transform into a cockpit and the walls would start to move backwards like being mechanically moved back, and the floor would open up and everything in the room would being to fall through the opening hole in the floor as the mech starts to become complete around him. By this point the room is starting to look more like a hanger to house mech space suits as docking port would start to form out of the wall as well then the scene would end with the lad controlling the mech blasting off into space.

Due to this complexity of this and the allocated time frame of around 1-2 minutes for the cinematic we were to produce I doubted this would get the go ahead, and as I suspected it was way too much for the brief and after words with my tutor Alan I unleashed my second idea which I was holding for a potential Major project...

After watching various documentaries on ancient lost civilisations I came across an author from the 1900’s H.P Lovecraft, who was a science fiction/horror writer whose work at the time as described as ‘weird fiction’ due to his work being very out there for his time. I also found out he was inspiration and predecessor to names such as Stephen King who was noted for saying ‘Lovecraft opened the way for me, as he had done for others before me’

With a lust for ancient untold worlds I went about brought his anthology the ‘Necronomicon’. Setting me back £20 for a huge (as in nearly as big as A4) 900 page book I slaved away reading it which at some times I had to reread pages due to the way it was written, don’t get me wrong it was nothing like reading Shakespeare but there were lots of words in there that left me slightly baffled as I’m by no means an expert in literature. After reading near 2/3s of the way through the book I still hadn’t found a story that quite fitted my idealised quota for the project. Then I read ‘At the mountains of madness’ and I’d just hit the nail on the head.
As oppose to describing the story to you I found this rather handy YouTube video which explains the story, however brief and being one hell of a skate over some quite interesting parts as well as being somewhat different in artistic direction from the path which I’m going to take with it.

I was intending to go through and create to scenes from my project the first the scene of chaos after the camp is ravaged by storm and alien resurrection and with that I was also considering maybe taking the same scene and cleaning it up to show the state of the camp before it was ravaged, then follow that with a journey into the mountains and into the ‘Old one’s’ ancient city.

However now I’m not so sure about the initial of the two scene’s as it may turn out to be a space filler and I’d much rather have less work at high quality than more work at crap quality, which I end up struggling to finish, like my final project last year...

Anyway, so far I’ve been doing my best to slug back through the book and tear out all the details to enable me to gain accuracy in the story as Lovecraft told it.
So hear follows my notes on description I’ve ripped out so far:
(This is more for my own referance if I'm not at my own PC, but feel free to read)

Geologist - Miskatonic University Expedition to Antarctic continents
Lake (character) leads expedition which leads to uncovering the entombed ‘The old ones’
Location? Plateau south of Ross Sea + mountains

30 thousand foot high mountains, ‘Odd formation on slopes of highest mountains, great low square blocks with vertical sides, and rectangular lines of low vertical ramparts, like the old Asian castles clinging to steep mountains in Roerich’s paintings’ weathered edges
Cave mouths
Arrangement looked like the ruins of Macchu Picchu in the Andes

Drill – Steel head, jointed rods, gasoline motor, collapsible wooden derrick, cording, sectional piping for bores 5” thick 1000ft deep all formed, made of aluminium, gasoline tanks, dogs, sledges, tents, experimental ice melting electrode equipment
1 crash landed plane
Wear thick furs
Camp built up with snow blocks for wind breakers + extra shelter
Camp at foot of mountain where plane crash landed, thin ice sheets with dark ground visible in places, 14 ‘old ones’ laid in camp on ground, snow corral safe distance from the camp, ‘old ones’ blood is thick dark shade of green, tent put over 13 aliens outside + 1 alien being dissected in another tent, snow blocks used to build around wind defences around tents aeroplane shelter and dog corral.
Aeroplane shelter pulverised as to inadequate
Drill derrick smashed to pieces, drill + ice melting equipment badly damaged
2 tents flattened despite snow blanking
No tracks in snow
Dog shelter flattened broken from inside
Sledges all gone
2 shaken up planes
Books + scientific equipment
Tents and furs in bad condition
6 ‘old ones’ buried upright in 9 ft of snow
Underneath 5 pointed mounts with groups of dots rectangular patterns
Greenish stone fragments, scarred bones
All men and dogs dead with strange sprinkling of salt around them
Clothes littered the place taken for human victims
Faint ‘old ones’ foot prints in one sheltered corner of the camp (triangular striated)
Tin cans opened in strange fashion by the food storage tent
Strangely opened tin cars piled everywhere
Broken matches unused
Tent sheets and furs piled about with strange slashes in them
Found green soapstone looking slab carved into 5 pointed star with tips broken off

‘The effect was that of a Cyclopean city of no architecture known to man or human imagination, with vast aggregation of night-black masonry embodying monstrous perversions of geometric laws. There were truncated cones, sometimes terraced or fluted, surrounded by tall cylindrical shafts here and there bulbously enlarged and often capped with tiers of thinnish scalloped disks; and strange beetling, table-like constructions suggesting piles of multitudinous rectangular slabs or circular plates or five-pointed stars with each one overlapping the one beneath. There were composit cones and pyramids either alone or surmounting cylinders or cubes or flatter truncated cones and pyramids, and the occasional needle-like spires in clusters of five. All of these febrile structures seemed to knit together by tubular bridges crossing from one to the other at various dizzy heights, and the implied scale of the whole was terrifying and oppressive in its sheer gigantism.’
Garden of the gods in Colorado or symmetrical wind-carved rocks in Arizona desert
Howling piping wind
Limitless tempest scarred plateau
Endless labyrinth of colossal, regular, and geometrical eurythmic stone masses
Buried 40/50feet deep rising up out of the glacial sheet
Fiendish violation of known natural law
Cyclopean maze of squared, curved and angled blocks, incredible inhuman massiveness
‘Corona Mundi – Roof of the world’
Plateau of Leng, of the Mi-Go?
Low gradual foothills separated it form the base separating it from the mountain covered in ramparts and cubes like outposts both on inner and outer side of the mountain
Walls from 10-100ft average as well as 50ft in ice 5-10ft thick
Made of prodigious blocks of dark primordial slate, schist, and sandstone blocks 4x6x8 size + buildings carved from solid bedrock
Innumerable honeycomb arrangement + small separate structures
Shapes tended to be conical, pyramidal, or terraced + many perfect cylinders, cubes, clusters of cubes and other rectangular forms
Particular sprinkling of angled edifices (5 pointed ground plan suggested fortification)
Arches + Domes
Monstrously weathered and glacial surface littered with fallen debris
Places where glacier was clear could see city below preserved in ice stone bridges and all intact
Largish windows some of which sealed by petrified wooden shutters
Roofs had rotted away and left weathered rough edges, and some coned and pyramidal roofs remained in tack due to being sheltered by higher buildings protecting them
A swath (stroke, possibly bridge) from plateaus interior to a slip in the foothills about a mile left from where they entered (flew over in plane), bridge over a river that used to run though the city billions of years ago
Star shaped open spaces – public squares
Shape hill rose + hollowed out into some sort of rambling stone edifice with at least 2 exceptions cone like monument similar to ‘Snake tomb’ in ancient valley of Petra
Buildings thin out after about 30 miles or so then the land is left rugged and sloping upward slightly
*Defiantly walked downhill from landing site* Concealed by barrier peaks
Primordial walls? Suggest whole city fortified or city itself so dense line a wall
Rampart 5 pointed rising to irregular 10/15ft high, 300ft point to point, 6x8ft face 5ft thick blocks, rows of loophole windows 4ft wide x 5ft high along edges + on inner angles of star, bottom of windows 4ft away from glacial surface,
Lower part of rampart obscured by snow
Cones of all digree of irregularity and truncation
Terraces of every sort of provocative disproportion
Shafts with odd bulbous enlargements
Tangle of dark stone towers
Broken columns in curious groups
Five pointed or five ridged arrangements of mad grotesqueness
Tubular stone bridges
No orderly streets, only a broad strip where a river ran beneath the ice through the town into the mountains
Buildings covered in bands and dots now weathered to dust
Complex tangle of twisted lanes and alleys (like deep canyons) so much over hanging masonry they were nearly caves
Low red Antarctic sun
Rock outcrop like artificial terrace in steep foothills
Muffled musical piping from the wind in the hills and caves
Maze of shadowed twilight
Rows of windows in bulges of a 5 edged cone
Terraces next to a low archway (5ft high with debris infront of for easy access) that used to have a bridge joining with it and opposite a cylinder with bulbous area about 10ft up where bridge would have joined possibly? (dark and empty inside)
Building entered (above has many inner archways)
Large open roofed cylinder with archways leading into it all but 1 chocked by debris, walls sculptured into a spiral band running round the building heavily glaciated floor much lower, with large stone ramp spiralling round as well (Bazaar and cosmic sculptures on the wall) 200ft wide, 60ft high? Once been at immense circular plaza, 600ft high with tiers of horizontal disks near the top
Building seemed to have toppled outwards as inside not to full of debris apart from ramp (slightly destroyed) and archways lower ones not so full

Old ones first lived under the sea for easy food etc where life on earth started
City used to have cluster on needle like spires
Scalloped disks capping cylindrical shafts
Delicate finials (decorational bits) on top of pyramids and cones
6ft high giant albino blind (virtually eyeless) penguins now live in labrynth below city

Great mountains beyond crumbling city
‘Grotesque city of dim, elfin line of pinnacle violet whose needle-pointed heights loomed dreamlike against the beckoning rose colour of the western sky. Up towards this shimmering rim sloped the ancient tableland, the depressed course of the bygone river traversing it as an irregular ribbon of shadow’
Mountain above the city leads to an ancient land shunned and feared by the old ones ‘beyond doubt the unknown archetype of that dreaded kadath in the cold waste beyond abhorrent Leng, whereof primal legends hint evasively’

These are a few kind of key facts/words that seemed to crop up a bit:
Cyclopean masonry (huge stone boulders worked roughly with hammer etc, not using anything like mortar up fill the gaps just smaller stones)
Bas-relief (carving into a flat surface to create sculpture portrayed as a picture)
Shoggoth – Alien jelly like morphing creature able to change into any for grow wings etc controlled by the ‘old one’s’ makes a Tekeli-li Tekeli-li sound (wide range piping) (the old ones language been mimicked by them)

I’ve also watched the documentary ‘Encounters at the end of the World’ by Werner Hertzog which is an interesting documentary about present day Antarctica where ‘In the mountains of madness’ was set, which has given me more of an insight into life there as well as telling of the first explorers their and showing dives under the ice into the surreal world below (which is where ‘The old one’s’ also resided other than in their ancient city).

Furthermore I’ve started to do a little bit of visual research various artists have done on ‘The mountains of madness’ as well as some interesting stuff from Lovecraft’s most famous story ‘Call of Cthulhu’ which I thought I’d put in as the tales all link one into another and ‘The mountains of madness’ tells of a battle between ‘the old one’s’ and another race of intergalactic beings described as octopus headed people for rule of the earth.

*These are all ripped from Google images and Photobucket and as can be guessed typing in ‘the old one’s doesn’t turn up much apart from peoples old photos and grandparents*

This is one of Lovecraft and one of the ‘old one’s’ from ‘Mountains of Madness’

And another artist interpretation of one of the ‘old one’s’ however my opinion of them would differ greatly from reading the story, but I thought I’d throw it up anyway

Then here are some more interesting ones that caught my eye

So thats just to get the ball rolling next stage is finish off ripping detail out of the book then more researching and on with the concept art.
Im also concidering sketching a couple of pictures of the old ones just to give a general idea of them, maybe not sure yet.

No comments: