Forms III: Kenneth Robin

Forms III: Kenneth Robin

by FFF x Mount Audio

I’m happy to present the third collaborative film in the Forms series devised by London based, creative sound studio Mount Audio. The ongoing project sees Mount team up with leading visual artists each month to create unique audiovisual works, this month with Kenneth Robin.

Forms III explores the sci-fi motion work of LA based, designer and art director Kenneth Robin. Kenneth has reimagined the practice of a secret 19th Century art movement who collected and classified algae. The ‘Diatomists’ would arrange their findings in intricate patterns, viewable only through a microscope.

Inspired by the visual’s dystopian aesthetic, Mount have combined cold, mechanical textures with heavy impacts in a deeply ethereal atmosphere. The soundtrack gently builds, slowly gathering momentum to the point of devastating climax at which point the viewer is pulled back into reality.

Kenneth was nice enough to answer some of my questions on the project.


Tell us about Forms III.

My concept for Forms III was inspired by a secret art movement from the Victorian age created by a group of scientists who called themselves Diatomists. They collected and categorized countless species of single cell algae found in water. They also painstakingly organized these microscopic organisms into beautiful radial patterns. I thought that was pretty fascinating that there are these intensely detailed and precious works of art hidden somewhere on a dish only viewable under a microscope. This is kinda like the nanobot version of what they did.

How did the collaboration with the guys at Mount Audio work?

They contacted me after seeing my work on Instagram. After seeing the previz and some test renders, they sent some audio beds and I sent some music that inspired the older RnD versions from earlier this year. Besides that I really just wanted them to run with it. What they did with the sound really helped carry the story along.

How do you approach a new project like this?

At first everything is pretty loose. I was trying to see if I could create something visually interesting without using too many keyframes or any at all for that matter. Prior to this project I was playing around with some similar structures and animations. So when it came time to develop this longer and more in depth piece I was already comfortable with the workflow. It was easy to scale up to something more complex because of those old studies.


What influences your work?

Finding patterns in nature, photography/cinematography, music, science, instagram superstar artists, cooking, my talented friends.. life in general really.

Tell us a bit about yourself and working environment.

I’m originally from New Orleans and have been living and working in Los Angeles for about 10 years. It’s a very inspiring place to live and has a crazy dynamic creative landscape that’s constantly in flux.

How did you get into 3D Art and motion design?

I started seeing lots of crazy motion design work and knew that’s the direction I wanted to go in creatively. It was about 10 years ago and I was quite immersed in print and interactive at the time, but a few guys were doing 3D and After Effects.. both of which I knew very little. So I’d go home and practice a couple hours a day until I got the hang of it. Around that time I was moving from SF to LA because that’s where all the studios were and it was really the place I wanted to live.


Do you think it’s important to make time for sideprojects like this?

Absolutely! It’s a good way to expand your skill set, test out ideas. Also in a world where clients are controlling the trends you need people to explore their own thing. That leads to innovation and fresh work. Or at least you’re making time and space to explore your own ideas.

How has the internet and social media shaped your output?

I consume a lot of content via Instagram and on design blogs. I actually love the overwhelming feeling that there’s so much great work out there and not enough time to make it or even comprehend what’s going on at any given time. It’s humbling. It pushes and inspires me while at the same time driving me mad.

What do you have coming up?

I have a new body of work that hasn’t been seen at all. Some client and personal work. That should be coming out sometime in the early new year.

Glenn Garriock