Landscapes of Liberty

Landscapes of Liberty is an interactive program with 3D animated sequences created for the Maryland Historical Society’s 2004 Looking For Liberty in Maryland exhibition. The series of narrative, animated shorts deconstruct the “built environments” of significant settlements in the state of Maryland. In each place, the plan of the settlement, and the arrangement and decoration of its buildings are decoded as a diagram reflecting the power of government and its relation to the land, to God, and to its citizenry.

The styles of animation used to represent each settlement are based on image-making practices and design styles that are consistent with the time of each settlement’s founding. For example, the town of Annapolis is animated in a style that resembles hand-colored prints common to the late 18th century: the Greenbelt animations resemble screen-printing techniques popularized in the early 20th century and used by the federal government in posters announcing various public housing initiatives.

Since the subject matter required the virtual reconstruction of buildings and their environs for specific historical periods, the non-photorealistic rendering techniques allow the audience to view these animations as the scholarly reconstructions they are, rather than as attempts to expose historical fact. The animations themselves constitute a performative gesture that demonstrates the idea that historical knowledge is constructed and subject to the medium within which it is embodied.

Production Notes

Co-production: Imaging Research Center, UMBC, and Maryland Historical Society
Direction and Research: Christina Hung and Laurie Ossman
Script: Laurie Ossman
Interface Design: Christina Hung
Technical Direction and Rendering: Dan Marsh
Interactive Programming: Ioanna Sakellion
Additional Programming: Chun-Shan Lin
3d modeling: Dan Marsh, Brinton Jaecks, Jasmine Jorgenson, Eric Smallwood, Marques Young, Tim Carl, Chrissy Kellog
Motion Graphics: KIoanna Sakellion and Eric Smallwood
Compositing and Output: Brinton Jaecks and Eric Smallwood
Sound Recording and Editing: Leigh Ann Roset