Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Of Pokeballs, Nostalgia and Mood Superpositions

My most recent work in Blender 3D is a Pokeball (Pikachu's Pokeball from the very first episode for all the Pokemon fans out there.) which in the final rendering turned out a lot better than I expected it to. It is the best thing I've created in Blender so far and in my opinion, my first work that does not seem too amateurish. I posted it on my deviantArt profile. (Or you can go over to the "Blender Projects" section of this blog and check it out there.)

Well it definitely taught me that nostalgia can be a very powerful motivator for art. That first episode I is not particularly complex or entertaining when compared objectively to many of the more recent masterpieces of Japanese anime but it represents something very special to me. Tied to this episode are precious memories of old friendships quarrels that shaped my personality. In fact when I look back on my early childhood, I find that all my memories are inevitably tied with the many cartoons that I watched at the time. They provided a release from the harsh realities of a conservative school. I used to spend hours immersed in imaginary worlds, dreaming of all the amazing, crazy things I could do.

I also noticed something about how moods work. I think that at any one time, people don't feel any single mood in isolation but a mixture of several different moods. The "dominant" mood may vary from time to time but it's always a mixture. So the mood we are feeling is actually a superposition of many moods. I started observing this effect when I did international travel for the first time. When I first visited Malaysia for a period of two months something felt subtly different.  I was under the impression that it was a smell but that description didn't seem to describe it satisfactorily. In retrospect I think that the travel to a new country introduced new moods or intensified some moods that had lain dormant for many years. I observed a similar effect when I travelled within the country but to a lesser extent. Sometimes I walk into a house or some other building and I think: "There is something oddly familiar about this place." This could be because that place had a mood signature similar to that of a place I'm very familiar with.

The mood signature of a specific place also seems to change over time, especially during emotionally significant events such as going up from Year 5 to Year 6 at school or a transition from Junior School to High School.

Coming back to the subject of cartoons, I discovered that by just watching cartoons that I'd watched during a specific period of my childhood life I could temporarily produce inside my brain a close approximation of the mood superposition of that period. It is like being mentally transported back in time to relive that part of my childhood. All the troubles, mishaps, worries, joys and triumphs I had at the time come rushing back to meet me. And perhaps this is what is happens inside the brain when we experience the state of mind called "nostalgia".

I think it's exciting that despite "owning" my mind for over 17 years I still have a lot to learn about it.
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