A Dichotomy of Swans

Howdy all. Hope everyone’s enjoying their year so far?

Mine began with fire and magic lanterns, but has rather quickly descended into mundanity once more. C’est la vie, n’es pa?

So, to the matter at hand.

Towards the end of last year one of the things I did was finally sit down and watch Black Swan. It’s a film I’ve been wanting to see pretty much since its release at the cinema, but circumstances at the time precluded that and I’ve not had the opportunity since. So when I spotted it coming up on Channel 4 it seemed the ideal opportunity. Darren Aronofsky is one of my favourite directors, ever since first seeing The Fountain. In that, I love the use of imagery to tell the interweaving stories, and I was hoping for something similarly surreal.

I wasn’t disappointed.

I did a fair bit of performance throughout my academic career, as a musician, and one of the most powerful things that struck me with Black Swan was the way it placed you within the mental space of someone striving to achieve within that field. The almost, but not quite, first person camera angles, combined with the visual hints that slowly build throughout the film really put you in Nina’s mind space.

Natalie Portman, and Mila Cunis both, I found compelling. I’m going to use the word ‘visceral’ here, and hope that nobody mocks me for it.

As is often the case with me, and other people I’m sure after experiencing a powerful work of art, my inspiration and desire to create was fired up. I am, however, willing to bet that there aren’t many other people out there for whom the reaction to the above film would be ‘I want to design some swan power armour’.

Bear with me whilst I plot for you the slightly convoluted path that led to this point.

When I was writing my first novel, one of the main characters I created for it was Lyana, a swan may. Basing her and her brothers and sisters loosely on the legend that tells of a maiden who may transform into a swan with the aid of a cloak of feathers, I took further inspiration from the Matthew Bourne production of Swan Lake and the Final Fantasy film The Spirit Within. I wanted to present them as primal, warrior figures, rather than the virginal maidens they more traditionally are. I therefore gave them the ability to manifest power armour as part of their glamour.

So, swan faerie shapeshifters with tank-like robotic suits.

Hence, the below was born.

I wanted to give each suit its own feel, in an attempt to represent the traditional aspects of the black and white swans from Tchaikovsky’s ballet. The black therefore being quite brash, overt and obviously militant, whilst the white is much more pure of form.

See what you think:

Black Swan Power Armour

White Swan Power Armour - Interceptor Mode

The pilots are included to give an idea of scale, and also affiliation/leaning. It’s difficult to convey sass at that scale, but that’s what I was going for with the first, whilst the second’s dreadlocks probably aren’t as clear as they should be. I was quite pleased with the sleek lines though, pretty much exactly what I wanted. As my husband put it: “very Richard Branson”.

Enough for now. Many thanks for reading.

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Metaphoric

‘My stag is white

But my swan is black.

My Castle is an abandoned train station that sees but the occasional service

pass through.

My skies are full of dragons, and

Old Gods walk the shadows

At my side.’

*

Came to me late one night towards the close of 2013.

Happy New Year people.