Lorne tells the animated story I created to depict the loneliness and depressing effects of being orphaned. The collection of picture frames show the few short memories Lorne has in his life, inviting the viewers to look at his life closely.
Lorne, previously named Cal, was born while I was taking a psychology class in college about relationships between mothers and babies. Cal was left alone, buried in a sketch somewhere, for a few years. I knew I wanted to do an installation using projection mapping this semester, and thought he might be perfect for this project. In preparing for this project, I had to do a lot of research about the psychology of abandoned children, and the effects that living in institutions have on them.
First, I started off by creating storyboards for the picture frames I wanted to display the videos in. The storyboards are short because I wanted the videos to be short. By creating short videos, I wanted the viewers to feel a sense of brokenness and disjointedness from Lorne’s memories. There are three storyboards for three of the picture frames. The fourth frame shows a school-picture-day portrait of Lorne, while the last frame shows Lorne’s narrative on a loop.
After the storyboards, I began putting together the frames that will be used in the installation. I wanted the picture frames to all be different, in size, shape, and look, but I wanted all of the frames to match. So, I painted them all with a base-layer of white, then I painted a layer of umber, and a final layer of white. Lastly, to finish up, I sanded the frames down so that they looked like they were very old, and the colors were starting to strip off.
The animation consists of a few steps. First, I chose a background for the animations. To do this, I found royalty-free images that I thought would be believable for Lorne’s environments. Once, I’ve decided on the backgrounds, I treated them with filters and color corrected them to fit the mood. Next, I composited on top of the backgrounds, frame-by-frame hand-drawn animations of Lorne. Lastly, I created a series of hand-crafted vignettes. This process is done so that I have several to choose from when compiling the animation, but also this allows me to animate them in the video.
Finally, with everything completed Lorne was ready to be installed for The Major Major show. Overall, I am satisfied with the outcomes of Lorne. I invested a lot of time and effort into creating this project, and I believe that it shows through the piece. One of the feedback I got during The Major Major show was from Justin Bakse, who said that Lorne felt like one of the most polished projects that was shown, and that there was a level of sophistication in the piece that others lacked. In conjunction with that, I feel that the project was able to connect with viewers emotionally the way I had intended. Many people felt sad or touched by Lorne during and after viewing it. When I created Lorne, I wanted people to think about the issue of orphaned children on a deeper level, and to connect emotionally with Lorne. During the show, I spoke with one attendee who said they had never really thought about how serious the issue was even though they knew about it.
Going further with Lorne, I would like to expand it, both with its physical form and in content. Prior to finishing the project, a colleague of mine, Cat Schmitz, had suggested I include symptoms of abandonment that may not be so obvious. Though that was something that I would have liked to explore, there was not enough time to do it this time around. In addition to that, I spoke with another Design and Technology professor, Ernesto Klar, who suggested that I install the frames in a much bigger space—to not only have a small panel’s worth of frames, but to cover an entire room with them. To do something on that scale, I could continue with the fragmented depictions of the character, but also include other characters, and as mentioned before, more information about the topic.
Though I really enjoyed creating Lorne, I am unsure now whether this is something I want to continue working on. Psychology is such a big topic that many professionals spend years studying, and it is not something I am even close to capable of articulating. To continue with this, I am not sure I possess the ability to convey the message correctly. However, working on this project, I feel a different side of myself emerging. This project, amongst other events, has inspired me to work on projects in the future that are somehow connected to children’s well-being.