As Chris Marker approached the age of 90, the French artist whose short Le jettee is often considered one of the greatest movies ever made, spent the last years of his life experimenting with a new medium: machinima. This weekend, why not watch "Third Cat", one of the final works Marker was involved with; he died last weekend at the age of 91. Shot in Second Life, where Marker spent some of his waning days, it features his alter ego, an orange cat, and a Barack Obama avatar. Yes.
"The Third Cat" was created by Max Moswitzer, a Viennese artist, in collaboration with Marker (who declined credit on the final work). "It was a good example of how I collaborate with Chris," Moswitzer tells me. "I was in a flat in Paris for 10 days, and did the recording and sent the rushes via mail to Chris overnight, he made comments and suggestions." The orange cat, as I said, is an avatar-based translation of Marker's alter ego, commissioned by the artist, named Guillaume-en-egypte. During development, Max effectively conducted virtual location scouting in Second Life for Marker: "I sent him screenshots and [SL] landmarks of possible scenes where Guillaume-en-Egypte and I inspected locations for the movie." After editing was done, Marker chose the music to accompany the machinima.
But what's with Guillaume-en-Egypte meeting the President?
"I knew that when Obama was getting the Presidency," Max explains from Vienna, "it was the last good news, a hope for the world."
As for Chris Marker, he finally got to meet the artist himself before he died, sharing some vodka during a real world exhibition of Marker's SL work. In any case, Max Moswitzer says this about the artist's death:
"In my sense Chris did not die, he is immortal. He staged his own death and lives now somewhere in the countryside in France." In any case, the virtual memories of Chris Marker live on: "On the other side there is Guillaume-en-Egypte, who just started his journey in the virtual worlds, with whom I am still in contact with Chris."
Hat tip: Redditor DoctorVainglorious