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3rd August 2012
Brain wave
Title of film: WanDan
Director: 那刹 Ksana Institue
那刹 Ksana's masterly website and film that intrigues and resonates on all levels

Perhaps the best way to view the WanDan film is within the context of the Ksana Institute’s website. Meanwhile 1.4 talks with 那刹 Ksana about creating a credible world beyond simply producing a promo film.

A quick summary please of your background and what led you to your interest in quantum physics and sci-fi?

I first got the opportunity to start playing about with film and animation while studying Graphic Design at Central Saint Martins. I already had a deep interest in sound and music and found that it allowed me to generate ideas with the added dimension of time that wasn’t present in the traditional mediums I was used to.

Inspired by the quote “Even the I Ching, however has not been fully comprehended by the “new scientists”, who, still immersed in the doctrine of progress, have not been able to see it for what it is: the code form of a science based on holonomic resonance rather than atomic physics,” by José Argüelles in his book The Mayan Factor – Path Beyond Technology. I was perplexed by the idea that the whole of humanity could change its entire existence by the perspective of its perception of reality and began to start playing about with ideas around sound, light and time where the blur between reality and fiction is indistinguishable.

How did the concept for the Ksana Institute come about and how did the story evolve?

WanDan was the first musician I met that wanted to collaborate on a project where we would come up with a concept and then create the sounds and visuals together around it, instead of just getting me to make a promo for a track he had. We wanted to create an idea not just a video, the concept was to create a human levitation test video where the subject’s movement would be linked to the sound, so I started to build a background story as to why this film should exist and researching the closest science so that I could reference theories to make it more plausible.

For acoustic levitation through vocal discharge we worked closely together filming the video before the music was created so that we could build his composition around animation movements, this worked both ways with him sending sounds he thought would work and me finding ways to animate to them.

Did the film come first and the website follow?

Fascinated how Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind added an extra depth of reality to the story by creating a backstory and commercial for Lacuna Incorporated, I wanted from the start of the project to present this film differently.

The idea was to add an extra dimension of reality behind 那刹 Ksana Institute that would make the whole story plausible so I created a website for the company. Hopefully to enhance the viewers experience by changing the perception of reality and blur it with fiction.

Towards the end of the project I was working on the film and the website in tandem so that both could feed from each other.

What were the main challenges of making the film – is it stop motion from stills? And what programs and kit did you use?

This project was a purely creative endeavour with a budget solely for a website. The main challenge was to coordinate a location, equipment and ourselves so that we were all available at the same time. The film was edited and graded in Final Cut Pro Studio and After Effects. It is made up of stills and live action shot on a Canon 7d with kit lens.

We love the fact that you draw inspiration from ancient practices, it makes the experiment more plausible. Does this come from your inherited background or is it something you have studied later in life?

I have been chanting Buddhist mantras from an early age which has given me a keen interest in Archaeo-acoustics and frequency in relation to brainwave state. Being brought up around concepts like Tao has led me to always be interested in forces unexplained by modern science. I have been especially captivated by the idea of levitation and the mystery around Edward Leedskalnin’s Coral Castle.

What’s the next level, the next experiment and plans for the Ksana Institute?

Having been successful with Acoustic Human Levitation we are now currently exploring the effects of vocal discharge on external objects with WanDan and hope to publish the results at the beginning of next year, the response has been good to the first video and we have more musicians willing to participate in our experiments.

Take us all to Kanton Island please. Now. Or are you busy working on something else?

那刹 Ksana Institute is the experimental division of 卡亞光 Kayalight Studios where we are currently completing ‘End of the roads’ a documentary about the London riots of 2011, which aims to give a voice to a generation confused by the hypocrisy that surrounds them.

We have charted a flight back to Kanton for November, you are more than welcome to join us.

Follow future experiments at www.facebook.com/KsanaInstitute