Amid The Cacophony Of Modern Life This Audio Visual Production Provides A Moment Of Peace

We live in technicolour: bright, bold and at times, abrasive colour. The flashing of traffic lights, the beeping of phones and the frenzy of rush hour – provides a constant cacophony. There are endlessly wonderful things about living like this, in a full sensory experience, however this noise makes the opposite all the more important: silence.


Motion designer, Simon Bronson’s, MAUNA, means just that – silence: peace of mind. Art is an escape from the bright blur of our own lives but it is not necessarily peaceful, it can cloud our head with further thoughts, force our minds into overdrive with new ideas, new theories and new perspectives. However, Simon’s latest audio visual piece is mesmerizing – it is captivating: our breathing slows, our eyes given a rest bite from the vivid colour we live in and allowed, just for a moment, to relax into a spectrum of simplicity.

Yet the piece derived from, “a few shaky photos”, Simon took on his phone while driving through a mountainous road in America. The name was initially intended to mean, Mountain, yet something else grew out of the term MAUNA – something more profound, a meaning shrouded in depth, history and truth.

In time to the beats composed by Richard Buxton, we glide over 3D terrain – we can see the rivulets and undulations of the ground, of the world, yet we are above it. Swimming in light that seems to scan the screen like there is a night watchman behind it, we feel light, effortless and calm. If meditation was a piece of art, this would be it.


We return to the vivid brilliance of our own world with a little more perspective: we breathe a little slower, we feel a little calmer and we let our minds continue to spiral but we do not follow them.

We spoke to Simon about this latest project and what silence means to him.

The Plus: What inspired you to create this film?
Simon Bronson:
Last year, my friend Satya and I drove back to Los Angeles from San Jose after a conference. The drive was long and I took a few shaky smart phone photos out the window not thinking that I’d ever do anything with them.
I have mostly created abstract pieces dealing with geometry so I wanted to push myself to something more grounded in nature.


TP: Talk us through the creative process – what software did you use? What techniques? How long did it take?
From the photos I used a really innovative IPad app called Trimaginator that generates geometry from images, in particular interesting lines which I’ve always loved the look of.
I’ve been using Instagram as a tool to try out ideas, get them out into the world and it’s helping my creative output as it has with quite a few designers these days.
I wanted to recreate this look in animation and set about using Cinema 4D, After Effects and plexus (which I’ve been using for over 4 years) to reimagine the original image. I spent a few weeks, after hours and on weekends, 3D modelling, animating and compositing the shots and editing them in Adobe Premiere.


TP: How did the collaboration with Richard Buxton come about and how did you come to the final track?
I’d found some temporary music and started my own rough mix of wind and car noises to help me edit the piece and convey the mood. Richie (aka Kidnot) took it to a whole other level. We’ve collaborated before at work, Method Studios Melbourne, and outside work on film clips for ecca vandal. He has such a great artistic aesthetic; I was blown away by his first work in progress.
By the time he’d come onboard, the piece had lay dormant for a while but his sound design pushed me to reshape it from scratch. Over time Richie tried a few different instruments and arrangements but ended up stripping a lot away, which gives it such a haunting quality.

TP: What was the most challenging aspect during the video creation?
Keeping momentum on personal projects is so hard. Without a firm deadline it was hard to know when it’s done as I may have tinkered, or worse still, just given up. If it wasn’t for Richie, I may have not finished it.


TP: In Hindu philosophy, Mauna refers to peace of mind, inner quietude, Samadhi and the Absolute Reality – what does it mean to you?
I was struggling with a name for months so a friend of mine google translated the placeholder title ‘mountain’; this was the best translation. It was an added bonus that it had this extra meaning. Who am I to explain what a piece of art means, I’m just happy that people like it.

TP: Sum up MAUNA in three words
Introspection, alienation and abstraction.


TP: Tell us about yourself – what’s your background?
I grew up in the 70s where I was encouraged to draw and take photos from my supportive ex-hippy parents. I also was lucky enough to be exposed to computers early as well even if they were very primitive by today’s standards.
Video games are also an influence, the bold colours and minimalism of those early games, especially vector games has stuck with me.
I worked in video production, then editing, and finally motion graphics late in the piece. I’ve worked as a motion designer for over 13 years now, in Sydney, London and now here in Melbourne as head of design at Method Studios.
When I’m not working I’m running industry nights for Melbourne Motion, a monthly get-together where I invite studios and artists to talk about their work, be it 3D, design or illustration. It’s so good to catch up with friends from other studios or freelancers, meet new people and get inspired by the work they make.

TP: What’s next?
I’d like to try some character stuff. I’ve been experimenting with my workmate Savva trying some motion capture experiments so I should probably put something together. Richie is keen to collaborate again and I can’t wait!