We’re always impressed when a bureaucratic office does something edgy and out of the ordinary, so we were delighted by the emergency preparedness video that the Metropolitan Borough of Kirkless in the United Kingdom produced. Created by Argentinian animator and videographer Joaquin Ferronato, the video advises Kirkless citizens on procedures to follow in emergency weather situations, from not sheltering under trees to not wading in dirty water. To watch the video, click here.
March 18, 2013
February 19, 2013
|1833 “McLean’s Optical Illusions; or, Magic Panorama” (early animations)|
Chalk board animations bring to mind earlier forms of “motion pictures” such as phenakistiscopes and zoetropes. The phenakistiscope had two spinning disks on a handle that spun in the same direction. A circular card with a series of sequential pictures was attached to one disk and viewed through slots in the second disk while reflected in a mirror. Persistance of motion made the images appear to move. A few years later, the phenakistiscope was replaced by the zoetrope, which more than one person could view at a time and which didn’t require a mirror.
|EARLY DAYS OF ANIMATION|
February 6, 2013
Photographer Yanni Kronenberg and animator Lucinda Schreiber have collaborated on this magical stop-action video of chalk board drawings set to the song Autumn Story by Firekites. A lyrical series of images drawn and then erased to make way for each subsequent picture, the animation’s elegant simplicity belies the complexity of its production. Kronenberg is an award-winning photographer and videographer living in Sydney, while fellow Australian Schreiber first became known for her short film done as a graduate animation student, titled The Goat That Ate Me. Visit their web sites to see more of their work.
May 29, 2012
The early 20th century was a time of great innovation and mechanization. Artists, designers and architects were fascinated with this new industrialization. (Recall Le Corbusier’s declaration that “The house is a machine for living). In 1927, German writer and artist Fritz Kahn designed an illustration titled “Der Mensch als Industrieplast” or “Man as Industrial Palace.” It related the complexities of the human body to those of working machines.
Henning Lederer, a young German communications student, discovered this image in 2006 and set about to update and automate it in video format. The result is a wonderful mix of science and creative interpretation. You can watch the video here.
April 22, 2012
We drove into downtown Washington, D.C., late last night to see artist Doug Aitken’s media piece, Song 1, projected in the round on the Hirshhorn Museum. It’s a very impressive production, including a running soundtrack of various people singing I Only Have Eyes for You and a visual dialogue of moving text and images. Eleven projectors are employed to create what the artist refers to as a work of “liquid architecture.” Even at 11 pm, there was a large audience of people walking around the museum’s exterior to experience the 360-degree video performance. The work will be up until May 13th, but if you can’t get to Washington in time to visit the museum, you can get a feel for the work by watching this YouTube video.
August 12, 2011
A sequel to the popular “Green Porno” series of videos about animal and insect reproduction, the “Seduce Me” videos expand on the playful combination of paper props, unique musical scores and amazing costumes worn by Isabella Rossellini to describe how creatures attract each other for the purpose of procreation. A combination of hard science, art, sound and poetry, the videos make learning about the natural sciences fun. Visit the web site to see all the videos along with behind-the-scenes views of the creators and the making of the props. http://www.sundancechannel.com/greenporno/
July 16, 2011
We pop-up book enthusiasts were delighted to see that J.P. Morgan Chase has bought into the trend of using the pop-up book as a motif in their advertising. The video, done in black and white, uses dimensional paper images of homes and businesses to promote their mortgage lending services and their role in the financial recovery. The image of a popped-up economy may be premature and the message a bit overly upbeat, but the pop-ups themselves are nicely done. Let’s hope the economy follows.
April 17, 2011
The line between books, electronics, theater and animation is becoming thinner these days with the rapid development of digital readers. We’ve seen several great apps that attempt to capture the feel of a pop-up book, although the experience is not the same as the actual paper versions. Here’s another approach in which film and pop-ups retain their distinctive qualities, yet the two are joined in a beautiful, surreal way. Created by Davy and Kristen McGuire during an artist’s residency at Kuenstlerdorf Schoeppingen in Germany, this large-scale pop-up book serves as the stage set for a story told through behind-the-page video projections. Inspired by Russian fairytales, the story is of a young boy enticed into the realm of an ice princess who wants him to warm her heart. Click here to watch the video.
To read more about this project, visit their web site at http://www.theicebook.com/Behind_the_Scenes.html
February 14, 2011
Here’s a delightful little automata for our audience today. Created by artist Dug North, the crank is turned and the small wooden figure peruses the card rack but can’t find the right card. It’s titled “Which Card Says ‘I Love You’ as Much as I Really Do?”
The solution? Not a purchased card but hand-made surprise. A wooden kinetic sculpture, a pop-up card, or just a plain cut-out heart–when it’s made by hand, it’s better. More of Dug’s work can be seen at his web site and on his wonderful Automata Blog.
February 11, 2011
A group of wonderful little videos showing historic pop-up books in action has been posted to YouTube by the Smithsonian Institution’s Cooper Hewitt Design Museum. It’s a movable library in action. Here are the links:
Puss in Boots, 1934, Blue Ribbon Books
Popeye with The Hag of the Seven Seas, 1935, Pleasure Books
Cowboys in Pop-Up Action Pictures, 1951, Publicity Products, London
Tony Sarg’s Treasure Book, 1942 B. F. Jay publishers
Dick Tracy pop-up book by Harold Lentz, 1935, Pleasure Books
Pinnochio pop-up book by Harold Lentz, 1933, Blue Ribbon Books
What a Surprise by Ernest Nister, 1900, E. P. Dutton & Co.
The Jolly Jump-Ups Journey Through Space, 1952, McLoughlin Bros.