Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘animation’

26 FEBRUARY, 2010

Animation Spotlight: I AM

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Deconstructing bears, or what mechanization has to do with access to language.

Today’s short-and-sweet is an abstract, poetic reflection on the dissolution of our relationship with nature amidst the man-made landscape of our urban space, courtesy of animation studio Tronic.

We find the robotic, monotonous voiceover to be a fitting vehicle for conveying the detached mechanization that has gradually replaced the organic cadence of the natural environment.

The title comes from the animals’ declaration of who they are. Each animal says, “I AM the elephant” and “I AM the horse” and it’s through language that they are reinforcing their physicality and their place in the world. And the irony, of course, is that animals don’t have access to our language, they have their own languages, but we privilege ours. And so with this piece, the idea was that by giving them access to language, it was giving them agency, giving them power, giving them the ability to be heard. ~ Vivian Rosenthal, Tronic

Read the full interview with Rosenthal on Vimeo for further insight into some of the thinking behind this beautifully executed statement piece.

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19 FEBRUARY, 2010

Duelity: Earth’s Story, Split Down the Middle

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Darwin vs. the General Organization of Development labs, or why truth comes in pairs.

Science and religion may be odd bedfellows, but they’ve always had a shared mechanism of propagation — both are simply the product of the stories we tell ourselves and each other to explain the world, be it rationally or emotionally or mystically. So what happens when these conflicting stories are pitted against each other? That’s exactly what Duelity does in a brilliant split-screen animation telling both sides of Earth’s story, winking at the evolution of human thought and language along the way.

Directed by filmmaker Ryan Uhrich and animator Marcos Ceravolo, Duelity is a curious hybrid of humor and philosophy, mythology and ideology, capturing the tensions and frictions inherent to our cultural storytelling.

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18 FEBRUARY, 2010

HBO City: Artisanal Animation Magic Circa 1983

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Craftsmanship lessons from the 80′s, or why 100 lightbulbs are putting Tim Burton to shame.

With all the stop-motion, time-lapse, paper-cutout, tilt-shift, CGI animation floating around these days, it’s easy to fall into the all-too-common trap of modern arrogance, assuming we’ve practically invented these art forms and none of this has ever been done before, let alone well. We, of course, are here to wiggle a disapproving finger and prove otherwise.

In 1983, HBO made a short but impressive opening sequence that really embodied just what makes HBO “premium” — brilliantly conceived and produced with enough meticulous craftsmanship to make Wes Anderson feel inadequate and send Tim Burton’s set designers running to mama.

Now, a short documentary goes behind the scenes of the elaborate production process.

If there’s something missing, you know something’s missing, but you don’t know what it is. So you put in as much detail in it, so the eye picks up every little thing.

Six craftsmen worked for over three months to create close to 100 unique buildings for the 30-foot-long HBO City, each handcrafted with painstaking precision to produce one of the best-constructed model cities ever built — with working lightbulbs in all buildings, headlights on the cars and buses, and hundreds of unique trees covered in handmade foliage.

Even when the model was finally completed, bringing it to life as an opening sequence was equally elaborate — it was photographed with a bleeding-edge computerized camera, filming for 14 hours something designed to last 20 seconds on the screen.

We didn’t want just a line. We wanted to communicate to the viewer that when they were turning on HBO, they were tuning into an entertainment center.

This sort of patient, labor-intensive, artisanal entertainment craftsmanship is quite rare these days. (Though the fantastic Moray McLaren We Got Time animation does spring to mind.) And while the digital revolution may have opened the doors to incredible CGI whimsy, we have to wonder whether it has also, ironically, reduced our capacity for such meticulousness. Could the digitally-induced shrinkage of our attention spans be eating away at our attention to detail — and at our tolerance for the effort require to attend to it?

Because in this world of ubiquitous Flashturbation, there’s still something to be said for the art and craft of old-fashioned, hands-on, painstaking creative tinkering.

via Movieline

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