Monthly Archives: January 2011

Inspiration: Julien Maire

I always visit the Artefact Festival in Leuven. This year it takes place from February 15 until 24. The program is always a great mix of installations, films and performances, and the curator has a great eye for works that play with their medium. One of my favorite artists, who will also perform there, is Julien Maire.

In an earlier edition of Artefact I for example loved his installation ‘Les Instantanés’. You are looking at a projection of moving drops of water on the wall, at least that was my first impression, but then you look into the projector and you see all these miniature glass drops, responsible for the ‘animation’.

His work always has this magical effect on you, like when he ‘magically’ makes letters appear on a sheet of paper in ‘Digit’.

I am looking forward to seeing him perform at Artefact!

Inspiration, would be a combination of these!

Nathalie Djurberg:

Blinkenlights:

Inspiration: Keita Takahashi

If I would have to describe the works of Game designer Keita Takashi in one word it would be: Carefree. Well known in the game industry for his controversial yet highlycontagious game designs like Katamari Damacy and Noby Noby Boy.

“Takahashi has stated in numerous interviews that he had no desire for Katamari to be touted as innovative or creative – he simply set out to bring the concept of simple, silly fun back into video gaming.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keita_Takahashi

“The game for PlayStation 2 changed the life of this art college graduate. Since it saw the light of day in 2004, Katamari Damacy has gone on to become one of the biggest cult hits in the history of video games.

The premise behind it is simple. Roll a sticky ball in any direction and pick up all sorts of random bits and pieces to form a giant katamari – the bigger, the better.

And all this is wrapped in a world of vivid, psychedelic colours, against a soundtrack of cheesy Japanese pop and nonsensical dialogue “The idea is straightforward,” explained Mr Takahashi, “everyone can enjoy the game.” For him, the most important thing was to create a game that was fun. And it is hard not to smile as the cartoon graphics and sheer silliness of the game take over the screen.”

From the article Katamari creator dreams of playgrounds by Alfred Hermida for BBC News.

 

Inspiration: edutainment – examples of interactive installations

These are examples of interactive installations designed for edutainment purposes. I wonder how much information can you put into one installation. Where is the right balance between game elements and the amount of information ? Do the visitor really wants to spend time to learn how to interact?

looking_for_life

gita

arctic_ice

bug_rug

Belo Horizonte

Interactive table

The dream sequence | part I

So what is a dream sequence?

A dream sequence is a technique used in storytelling, particularly in television and film, to set apart a brief interlude from the main story. The interlude may consist of a flashback, a flashforward, a fantasy, a vision, a dream, or some other element. Commonly, dream sequences appear in many films to shed light on the psychical process of the dreaming character.

Audio or visual elements, such as distinctive music or coloration, are frequently used to signify the beginning and end of a dream sequence in film. Harvard psychologist Deirdre Barrett points out in the film chapter of The Committee of Sleep that, while the main content of dream sequences is determined by the film’s overall plot, visual details often reflect the indvidual dream experience of the screenwriter or director. For Hitchcock’s Spellbound, Dali designed sharply angled sets inspired by his own dream space, Ingmar Bergman lit dream sequences in several films with a harsh glare of light which he says reflects his own nightmares (though most people’s have dim light), and Orson Welles designed a scene of the trial to reflect the manner in which architecture constantly changed in his dreams.[1]

It has also become commonplace to distinguish a dream sequence from the rest of the film by showing a shot of a person in bed sleeping or about to go to sleep. Other films show a dream sequence followed by a character waking up in their own bed, such as the dream sequence George Gershwin composed for his film score to Delicious. Certain Surrealist and neo-Surrealist directors such as Luis Buñuel and David Lynch refuse to distinguish between waking life and dreams in many of their films, mixing the two states as they please.[2]

….. Similar to a dream sequence is a plot device in which an entire story has been revealed to be a dream. As opposed to a segment of an otherwise real scenario, in these cases it is revealed that everything depicted was unreal. Oftentimes this is used to explain away inexplicable events. Because it has been done, in many occasions, to resolve a storyline that seemed out of place or unexpected, it is often considered weak storytelling; and further, in-jokes are often made in writing (particularly television scripts) that refer to the disappointment a viewer might feel in finding out everything they’ve watched was a dream.

 

Wikipedia

So I found a couple of expamples that i really liked.

The Big Lebowski – Gutterballs. I really love the exagerated never ending perspectives and how the scenes somehow fit together. There some many subtle or less subtle links to crazy characters, Like the Valkyrie suit also worn is by Elmer Fudd in Bugs Bunny’s Whats up, Doc? (1957)

 

Spellbound. The Dali backgrounds and sounds work so well and really create a psychedlic feeling.

This Dali surrealism in animation. Destino (2003) The slow movement really make it dreamy.

 

Kung Fu Pand. The dream sequence is guided by the voice of the maincharacter and the transition between styles at the end guide the viewer back to animation reality.

http://www.artofthetitle.com/2008/10/03/kung-fu-panda/

 

Inspiration: “Bored to Death” title sequence

After seeing a commercial for the series Bored to Death a couple of times on Comedy Central, I decided to give it a try, since it looked pretty funny. I downloaded the first few episodes, and when I watched the first one, I was immediately intrigued by the title sequence:

I’m can’t really tell whether or not it is a good title sequence, because I’m not sure if it sets the right tone for the series, but then again, I’ve seen two episodes untill now. But as an animation on its own, I think it’s really great. The combination of the look of it, and the music is very nice. And I guess it did work as an title sequence, because it made me want to watch the episode even more!

It’s not very very new though, it has already been covered on Art of the Title [link], with an extensive interview with the illustrator and director. It even won the 2010 Emmy ‘for Outstanding Main Title Design’.

Inspiration: Sátántangó

Last weekend I watched the film Sátántangó, a seven-and-a-half hour long Hungarian film, shot in black-and-white, directed by Belá Tarr and released in 1994.

Besides the long running time, I think the film is mostly famous for its amount of very long shots. According to the director (I didn’t count them!) there are only around 150 shots in the whole film, which means that the film has an average shot-length of about 3 minutes! There are even shots in the film that run close to ten minutes.

The film made quite an impression on me. The fact that I enjoyed a 7,5 hour long film, often with minute long shots of just people walking, to me is very fascinating. When I started to figure out for myself why this was, I came to the conclusion that -for me, at least- it all has to do with the visual language. I think that a lot of the story is told through images. Well, not just the story, because it isn’t only about the story, it might be more about the atmosphere, the feeling, which is told through images. And this film contains many very beautiful shots, images, and then I think it’s not a problem to look at it for a while.

It is inspirational for in in a way that, I sometimes have the idea that everything has to be super fast paced, and although I really enjoy a film like Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, I think it’s beautiful to see that a film like Sátántangó can also work, in its own way. It’s a totally different way of enjoying film, closer to art then entertainment. And although I can understand why, I sometimes think it’s a shame that films like this aren’t more widely known.

Down here a short clip I found on YouTube:

And a collection of screenshots I took of shots I found very interesting:

Inspiration: Takashi Murakami – Superflat!

As I mentioned in the Master animation Research class last Thursday, the artist who inspires me when it comes to minimalistic graphic art is the infamous Japanese artist: Takashi Murakami. In succession of the great conceptual Pop-artists of the 60’s, like Andy Warhol, Murakami seeks to use commerce to critisize the established and to bring his art to the masses.

Murakami is known for his use of cute or kawaii characters which have been simplified to ‘Superflat’.

“Superflat is used by Murakami to refer to various flattened forms in Japanese graphic art, animation, pop culture and fine arts, as well as the “shallow emptiness of Japanese consumer culture.” A self-proclaimed art movement, it was a successful piece of niche marketing, a branded art phenomenon designed for Western audiences.

Murakami defines Superflat in broad terms, so the subject matter is very diverse. Often the works take a critical look at the consumerism and sexual fetishism that is prevalent in post-war Japanese culture.” – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superflat

“Flat, colorful and rootless, the images of this popular subculture – the blank-faced Hello Kitty, the mutant monster Godzilla, the giant alien Ultraman, the cat-shaped guardian robot Doraemon — line up in no particular order, like icons on a computer screen. This cavalcade of weightless images in turn reverberates with contemporary viewers worldwide: anime and manga have become global signifiers of cool. Historically, to be sure, Japan is unique. Until a century and a half ago it was a society shut off from most of the world, and then, with gigantic gulps, it absorbed and adapted whatever it wanted, mostly from Europe, in an accelerated binge. The orgy ended with the catastrophe of World War II, after which Japan once again slammed the door on the past and started fresh with new, mostly American models. The grab-bag appropriation, inexact simulation and accelerated speed that characterize this process no longer appear peculiarly Japanese. They feel now. We live in an age when distinctions are arbitrary, originality is devalued, hierarchies are discredited and authenticity seems meaningless. Barely 40 years ago, Pop artists like Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein caused a transgressive stir by adopting commercial imagery from newspaper advertisements and comic strips as the subjects of paintings to hang in art galleries. How daring that was, and how dated it is. We are surrounded today by too many images to source or rank. While it would be fatuous to say that we are all Japanese now, we are surely all living in Murakami’s world.”

“He admires the naked transparency of these artists’ cashing in on their reputations to make money. ”My concept is, anytime we do the honest thing, we get the win,” Murakami said. ”People find it very difficult to find their honest desire. Andy Warhol did that. I love his diary: pay the driver two weeks, the coffee is too sweet, the weather is cold. It’s a life. Warhol is a master artist for me because he was a really honest person.””

From the article “The Murakami Method” by Arthur Lubow, NY Times

Inspiration: Claudio Silvestrin

In my daily search for order & simplicity a came across a interesting quote of architect Claudio Silvestrin:
“Minimalism is not a style, it is an attitude, a way of being. It’s a fundamental reaction against noise, visual noise, disorder, vulgarity. Minimalism is the pursuit of the essence of things, not the appearance.” — Claudio Silvestrin

I totally agree. In this day of age where a lot of things are technology driven we need to re-define everything and find the essence of things. For example in animation or film, we should focus on conveying emotions and feelings. I would love to see a Stallone film that actually makes me cry!

Master Animation Blog is Alive!!!

Here we are. The course is half way. It’s time to begin a blog!!