Sean Caruso, director of Cernunnos, reveals the genesis of his most recent immersive artwork.
The young artist who created Cernunnos, presented until March 3 in the dome as part of the 2017 SAT Fest, tells us the story behind the creative process of this recent production, but also what truly inspired him…
Sean Caruso stepped into the world of digital arts relatively late compared to many of his collegues. Soon after finishing high-school he began producing drum’n’bass music, working in the local record shop and eventually printed his music to vinyl. It wasn’t until his early twenties that experimental music began to inspire him. Then, in 2012 it was a video mapping project by Hunagarian artist Laszlo Bordos which gave him a new creative push. “I immediately knew this was what I wanted to do. To pair my experimental sounds with digital visual art. Laszlo is a master in this and he still inspires me.”
SHAPING HIS SUCCESS
Two years later he travels to Geneva (Switzerland) for the Mapping Festival. It was during this trip to Europe that Sean had the opportunity to meet Laszlo. He had recently complimented one of Sean’s videos posted on social media. “It was a bit surreal that he was complimenting me on my work! Since I was already in Geneva, I couldn’t miss the opportunity of meeting him.” A few emails later, the two had met in Hungary, a determining moment for his career.
THE BIRTH OF CERNUNNOS
Destiny will bring him back to Hungary again in January 2016. Sean then lives in a small town in the countryside. His creative ideas are forming, but Internet is scarce and his computing equipment isn’t powerful enough to give shape to the new project he has in mind. And so it is remotely, using his computer in Sherbrooke, that he creates most of Cernunnos. “It was crazy because there was only one wifi hotspot in the village one and only Internet café. I had to go there to transfer my projects to Quebec and start the rendering over the net. It was taking quite a while and the deadline was quickly approaching.”
A technical limitation that, however, brought him to expand his reflections around the creation of immersive art: “We really need to move on and add more narrative,” he reflected. “An artwork, whatever its nature, has a story, a soul. The power of narrating it is what adds to its magic.” And that’s what he did!
THE STORY AROUND CERNUNNOS
Sean is interested in everything relating to conspiracies and the dark arts. The CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (a gigantic 27km tunnel, traveling between Switzerland and France) is a perfect example of these subjects. “Scientists do a lot of strange experiments inside it”, he says, before adding: “The engineers star in short films they stage, with occult, diabolical, or even satanic rituals. A statue of Shiva (Goddess of destruction) overlooks the entrance. It’s odd to say the least!” Cernunnos is only a myth for him. It only serves to show how the lines between science and science-fiction can be easily blurred when using symbolism to drive the narrative.
This project, first created for the Fulldome Festival in Germany, has been awarded the Best JANUS First Year Students’ Award. The same year, Cernunnos is selected for the 2016 Fulldome UK and won both “Best Use of Dome” and “Best in Show”. Following in the steps of his mentor, Sean finds himself in the same program, as part of the 2017 SAT Fest!
Article by Yohann Goyat, translated by Élisabeth Savoie
Photos by Sébastien Roy