Cranes In Motion

Project Description

The Cranes in Motion Project is a collection of several hybrid media projects that document, explore and artistically interpret the fascinating dynamics of crane culture in an effort to understand this unique species and our shared ecosystems.

Part of Phase I includes a sequence, titled: “Prehistoric Resurrection” where a 3-D animated crane skeleton emerges from an actual photo of a 12 million year-old fossil that then transforms into motion, interacts with present day Sandhill Cranes and flies away. This animation visually connects prehistoric references to crane survival and longevity through the beauty of movement and the tools of technology.

Phase II, (in-progress): The interactive “Mimicking Whooper” projection, allows the viewer to have an interactive virtual experience that rarely can be obtained in real life. Via a series of collaborative experiments within the IRC (Imaging Research Center) at UMBC, a life-size (fully feathered Whooping Crane) 3-D crane projection is being created, allowing the viewer to control the crane dance, walk, jump, bow, etc., in ways typical of Crane motion behavior. Phase II is being configured by using Kinect software, a camera-based optical tracking system designed to control Xbox games with full-body gestures. In this “dance” it is my hope that besides being fun – empathy, understanding and the foundations of environmental stewardship will take flight.

In final exhibition form, this multi-media installation artwork will include: audio recordings, digital video, photos, drawings, animations and artifacts.

Prehistoric Resurrection 

(2016, 4:10 min, 3D animation, 2k live-action, single channel, Digital audio)

Screenings & Awards:

Prehistoric Resurrection (Animation/ Film) 4:10 minutes

  • Creation International Film Festival, Ottawa, Canada, November 30, 2016.
  • The Block Film & Art Festival, Logan, Utah, October 7-8, 2016.
  • Women Over 50 Film Festival, London, United Kingdom, October 1-2, 2016.
  • Full Moon Film Festival, Milwaukee, WI, September 16, 2016.

2016 –

  • Lodi Sandhill Crane and Arts Festival, featured Banquet Artist / Speaker.
  • Nov. 4 – 6, 2016,  Mimicking Whooper installed for the festival., Lodi, CA.
  • UMD-College Park – Guest Artist Speaker, Cranes in Motion, October 20, 2016.
  • VisArts, Kaplin Gallery, Rockville,MD. Cranes in Motion Exhibit, 2/26 – 4/25/2016.

2015 B-More Shorts, Creative Alliance at the Patterson, Baltimore, MD

2014 – “Temporary Resurfacing”, A street installment of projections in Milwaukee, WI., Mitchell Street district. (in-progress)

PRESS:   The Washington Post April 7, 2016 “In the Galleries” by Mark Jenkins, Cranes in Motion:

In a nifty CGI piece, a crane skeleton comes to life, and even takes flight. Even more fanciful is “Mimicking Whooper,” designed with gaming software. People who walk into range of this video will encounter an animated crane that flies down to greet them. The slightly cartoonish bird then imitates — as much as its physiology allows — the viewer’s movements. This is not an accurate representation of crane behavior, of course, but the birds are known for being sociable with their own kind. Cook’s simulation makes gallery-goers into honorary cranes, at least for a few flutters.


Prehistoric Resurrection (Phase 1)

Creative Folks
Cathy Cook, PI / Director /Artist / Cinematographer
Paul Dickinson, Sound Recordist and Field Recording Collaborator

Deborah Firestone, Artist / 3-D Animator
Ryan Zuber, Technical Director / 3-D Animator, IRC

Gionatan Tecle, Post-Production Assistant
Will Hromek, LAS Intern

Facility Collaborators
Imaging Research Center
UMBC Department of Visual Arts

Research Support
Visual Arts – University of MD. Baltimore County (UMBC)
The Field Museum – Chicago, IL.
International Crane Foundation (ICF), Baraboo, WI.
University of Nebraska State Museum Archives – Lincoln, NE.
Rowe Sanctuary – Audubon, NE.
Patuxent Wildlife Research Center – Laurel, MD.

UMBC – (University of MD – Baltimore County) SRAIS grant

Mimicking Whooper (Phase 2)

In addition to the above credits:
Mark Jarzynski – Technical Director of Software Development @ IRC
Boris Boiko – Kinect Programming & Animator – IRC Undergraduate Intern