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Once Upon a Time

If Walls Could Speak

Once Upon a Time

Chapter 3: Symphony, 2023

'Once Upon a Time' is part of the series 'Symphony' from the project The Wild Within that brings new life into abandoned and historic buildings by combining photography with animation to create surreal, meditative, moving architectural spaces.

The building pictured, built between 1890-1920, is the interior of an old decaying villa in the Dannawi neighbourhood of Beirut, Lebanon.

Over a period of several years, artists Ryan Koopmans and Alice Wexell travelled around the world exploring and photographing forsaken buildings and unique architectural sites. They were drawn to these locations based on the particular historical, cultural and architectural qualities of the place.

From ancient temples in the mountains of Armenia, to elaborate abandoned theatres in the Middle East, the artists trekked to remote corners of the planet under strenuous conditions in order to find remarkable and unseen locations where their creativity could be applied.

Once the architecture has been photographed, the images are then modelled into virtual environments and overgrown plant-life is introduced digitally. The lighting and structure is modified, a custom musical composition is added, and the photograph is transformed into a moving image that loops seamlessly. Furthermore, the piece features an original score by composer Karl-David Larson.

The artists intentions are to revive these vacant spaces, essentially bringing life back into the buildings. They aim to transport the viewer into an alternate place and time, creating a surreal collision between the past and future as well as the merging of physical and digital worlds.

Conceptually, the theme of preservation is compounded by the fact that some of the buildings depicted in the artworks have been demolished or continue to deteriorate, further emphasizing the theme of time passing in the cycle of growth and decay.

The fusing of documentary-style photography with the imaginative potential of animation techniques results in a body of work that is captivating and meditative.

Collected by Flying Beagle for 25 ETH

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'Once Upon a Time' on display inside of Lobkowicz Palace in Prague Castle, Czech Republic.

We were invited by Prince William Lobkowicz and family to display the artwork during an exhibition dedicated to Czech composer Antonín Dvořák, from October 27 - November 13, 2022.

Play the artwork with the custom musical score by Swedish composer Karl-David Larson.

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