Skydog is the alias of experimental director Ryan Uzilevsky
Born and raised in San Francisco, California to a family of musicians,
artists, and nature enthusiasts with roots in Scandinavia and Eastern Europe.
He is an exhibition and film festival curator, a designer, a builder,
and the principle of world renowned multimedia collective
Light Harvest Studio.
He now lives and works in New York, South East Asia, and California.
At the age of 14 he began working in video production with his family
and friends who were centered around the live music and independent film
scenes in the San Francisco Bay Area.
As a young adult he studied sculpture and film at San Francisco State
University of California before deciding to relocate to New York City to work
as an independent film director. From there he traveled around the world
participating in a vast multitude of creative projects.
When not traveling, he is a guest lecturer and research collaborator at NYU
Tisch School of the Arts as well as UCLA's Design Media Arts.
The launch of Light Harvest Studio signified Skydog's expansion from traditional cinema, into site specific audio visual performance,
and large scale public media art.
His background in visual effects for cinema warrants an intimate knowledge of visual storytelling, and a firm grasp on
technology. These traits enable him to create immersive experiences that touch on complex themes such as mind/body dualism,
lucid dreaming, spirituality, and romance.
Particularly, his current work studies the hybrid relationship between architecture and the moving image. A focus on the dynamic manipulation of perceived space and the unseen movements that are suggested within architectural form, opening new possibilities to deliver meaningful messages, and tell bigger stories.
Skydog speaking on architectural video mapping:
“These larger-than-life architectural scale artistic gestures, amplified by cutting edge technologies can bring viewers into a heighten state of suspended disbelief, something which traditional mediums find harder and harder to achieve in today’s over saturated environment“
His work often merges Visual Art and Music. With projects featured at international festivals, exhibitions, concerts, theaters, and museums such as the Guggenheim Museum, the New York MOMA, Coachella Music and Arts Festival, Burning Man,
New York's Festival of Ideas, Further Future Festival, House of Yes, Robot Heart, and VIVID Festival in Sydney.
By embedding media and dynamic visual effects into the world’s long existing monumental architectural realms, a new visual language emerges. This work has the ability to deliver feelings and sensations that challenge not only the intellectual mind and the emotional heart, but also the instinctual biology of the fight or flight tendencies built into human spatial conscience.
Unlike many of his New Media Art contemporaries, his work does not represent a departure from the legacy of the built environment, or a call for a post-internet digital replacement to public space, rather, he creatively integrates the deep seeded human response to classical shape, form, and material. Working within this architectural context fosters a mind-body connection that only thousands of years of collective human proximity and intimacy with these deeply rooted forms can touch on.
From there, he presents work from a platform that is familiar while beckoning the unpredictable. It is in this suspended state of possibility that audiences can find themselves grounded, yet vulnerable enough to absorb and contemplate the meaningful narratives that are being delivered in the work.
The result is immersive experiences that allow once familiar structures and spaces to engage in two-way communication with the audience. A communal and dynamic theatrical experience where the audience is free to wonder in and around the installation sites. This exploitative freedom becomes a necessary part of an Audio Visual journey that often includes complex subjects and intense storytelling.
The future of his work is undefined yet infused with great possibility. As technology and creative mediums advance, he will continue to embrace new tools that foster both suspension of disbelief and meaningful reflection on our deepest human sensitivities.
"BACK IN RENAISSANCE TIMES, Uzilevsky says,
commissions from individuals and institutions at the
highest strata of society were about creating something
impressive, dramatic, and long-lasting, like a new
cathedral or public square."
“Seems, there’s no longer as much space
in our cities and towns for building cathedrals and monuments,”
he says. “Instead, today we’re able to augment or transform
an existing architectural vision into something more modern,
or more relevant to the current human condition.”
It fulfills the desire for a communal and dynamic
“Traditional or classical architecture is a crystallization of a time and
a feeling,” he says.
“It’s a kind of cultural meme from the past. So everything is sitting there,
crystallized from the time it was built, unchanging.
It’s no longer a current conversation"
But with the speed at which our culture is now flowing,
I think there’s been a need for architecture to talk and to communicate.
We’re able to do that now—to transform physical spaces based
on a communication objective, or an artistic statement."
A more primitive aspect, according to Skydog, is
that people respond so viscerally. His intention is to
take this medium “beyond digital fireworks” to insert
stories and mythology into each installation.
Why stories and mythology?
“This type of installation can be so intense and overwhelming for
people, so there needs to be a common and empathetic point
where they can connect to themselves, and to their humanity,
otherwise it quickly deteriorates into overly amplified
abstraction, which to me is far less interesting or useful"