4 nov: Luminous Animated Works

In light of EYE’s exhibit on Anthony McCall, EYE and KLIK! bring for the E*cinema academy a sparkling selection of animation created with, or inspired by, light.

Classic and contemporary works from both EYE and KLIK!’s archives span more than half a century of exploring animated illumination. Enjoy gorgeous Norman McLaren films on 35mm, Glen Keane’s newest Google short Duet, and an in-depth introduction by EYE’s Simona Monizza.

The Film Program – 

Pas de Deux, by Norman McLaren, Canada, 1968, 13.22 min. (from the collection of EYE)
This short film is a cinematic study of the choreography of ballet. A bare, black set with the back-lit figures of dancers Margaret Mercier and Vincent Warren create a dream-like, hypnotic effect. Filmed on high-contrast stock and recomposed by using an optical multiple image technique. This award-winning film comes complete with the visual effects one expects from this master filmmaker.


Duet, by Glen Keane, USA, 2014, 3.34 min.
Animated in its entirety and directed by Glen Keane (former Disney animator and creator of such beloved characters as Ariel, Beast, Aladdin, Pocahontas, Tarzan and Rapunzel), DUET tells the story of Mia and Tosh and how their individual paths in life weave together to create an inspired duet. The unique, interactive nature of the story allows the viewer to seamlessly follow the journey of either of the two characters from birth to adulthood.


Lines Vertical, by Norman McLaren and Evelyn Lambart, Canada, 1959, 5.46 min. (from the collection of EYE)
An abstract in which a sheaf of straight lines multiply and move in varies speeds and distances from each other, in response to the structure of Indian music, resulting into a hasty energy. The lines, which are 19-inch in length, the length of Evelyn’s ruler, were scratched directly into the emulsion. The musical accompaniment to Lines Vertical was composed and played by Maurice Blackburn.


An article about McLaren´s line aesthethics.

Rippled, by Darcy Prendergast, Australia, 2013, 3.57 min.
Over 6 months in the making and almost 3 years after Lucky, their first light painting collaboration, Darcy Prendergast and the creatives at Australia’s Oh Yeah Wow have again teamed with Melbourne-based musicians All India Radio to create their latest music video, Rippled. Painstakingly animated frame by frame, the piece is “all shot in camera, by real people, in the real world, using long exposure techniques”.


An interview with Darcy Prendergast about Rippled: http://lightpaintingphotography.com/light-painting-photography/rippled-all-india-radio/

Mood Contrasts, by Mary Ellen Bute, USA, 1956, 7 min.
Music: “Hymn to the Sun” from The Golden Cockerel and “Dance of the Tumblers” from The Snow Maiden by Rimsky-Korsakov. “An abstract film made in this fashion provides, in the making as well as the seeing and listening, one of the most thrilling experiences the motion picture affords.” (Jesse Zunser, “Kinetic Space,” CUE Magazine.)


More about the works of Mary Ellen Bute: http://www.centerforvisualmusic.org/Bute.htm

Oscillate, by Daniel Serra, USA, 2013, 4.26 min.
“Oscillate” is the title of Serra’s thesis animation done at the MFA Computer Art program in the School of Visual Arts located in New York City. The goal of this work was to visualize waveform patterns that evolve from the fundamental sine wave to more complex patterns, creating a mesmerizing audio-visual experience in which sight and sound work in unison to capture the viewer’s attention.


Serra’s website: http://dbsierra.com

Space Modulation, by Bart Vegter, The Netherlands, 1994, 1 min. (from the collection of EYE)
A black plane with a large number of tiny dots gradually changes from flat to spatial to capture an image which is neither flat nor spatial.


More about Bart Vegter: http://www.longcanalfilm.nl/frameset.htm

A Very Large Increase in the Size, Amount, or Importance of Something Over a Very Short Period of Time, by Max Hattler, Russia, United Kingdom, Germany, 2013, 2 min.
A Very Large Increase in the Size, Amount, or Importance of Something Over a Very Short Period of Time. Or maybe not at all.


The website of the filmmaker: http://www.maxhattler.com

#3, by Joost Rekveld, The Netherlands, 1994, 4 min.
#3 is a film with pure light, in which the images were created by recording the movements of a tiny lightsource with extremely long exposures, so that it draws traces on the emulsion. The light is part of a simple mechanical system that exhibits chaotic behaviour.


The website of the filmmaker: http://www.joostrekveld.net

London Grammar – Hey Now, by Christopher Ullens de Schooten, UK, 2014, 3.32 min.
A forest comes alive at night courtesy of some enigmatic stop frame animation of pulsating earth, lights playing amongst the trees and mysterious characters meeting. As the track escalates, string maestro Sebastien Preschoux unveils a stunning display of his art as animated strings enchant the woods emphasised by the geometric lights pulsing amongst the trees. This hand crafted and playful stop motion ballet depicts a tale of life coming and going is all orchestrated straight out of Chris Ullens’ playful imagination.


Blinkity Blank, by Norman McLaren, Canada, 1955, 5.16 min. (from the collection of EYE)
This experimental short film by Norman McLaren is a playful exercise in intermittent animation and spasmodic imagery. McLaren’s imagery was scratched directly onto black film leader, colored in with paint, but leaving some frames blank. He described these blank frames as ‘sprinkling on the empty band of time’. Blinkity Blank is accompanied by Maurice Blackburn’s experimental jazz and the sounds of scratches, which McLaren added to the film’s optical soundtrack.


Light Forms, by Malcolm Sutherland, Canada, 2010, 4 min.
It’s easy for the eyes to get lost in this mesmerizing piece of animation by Malcolm Sutherland. Narrative images pop out of some of the abstract forms which makes it that much more exciting to watch. Soundtrack is by Sutherland too.


The website of the filmmaker: http://www.animalcolm.com


Norman McLaren, a theorist and practitioner of animated art. Born in Scotland, but moved to Canada in his late twenties to work for the National Film Board, developed his career in animation by mastering different kinds of animation techniques. Though it was his philosophy of animation as an art of personal expression that gave him worldwide recognition as a pioneer in animation.

His experiments in animation techniques varied from live-action, object animation, pixillation, multiple images technique, travelling (overlapping) zoom as well as painting and scratching directly on the film. His films are mostly characterized by playfulness, where lines, dots, humans and animals in all sorts of colors fill the frame. McLaren himself liked to see his films as a form of dance. Constantly he worked on the relation between music or sound and the moving image. Particularly his early work was much inspired by Oskar Fischinger.

Sound was of great importance to his films; having a synaesthetic visual experience when hearing sound. Around his thirties he began with scratching and drawing directly onto the optical soundtrack area of the film. His movie ‘Pen Point Percussion'(1951) illustrates beautifully his love for visualizing sound.

This feature length documentary (by Donald McWilliams, 1990, 116 min, Canada) is a journey into Norman McLaren’s process of artistic creation. A cinematic genius who made films without cameras and music without instruments, McLaren produced 60 films in a stunning range of styles and techniques, collecting over 200 international awards and world recognition. Drawing on McLaren’s private film vaults, a gold mine of experimental footage and uncompleted films, this film explores McLaren’s methods, including his celebrated “pixillation” technique.


And the related book released by the National Film Board of Canada: http://onf-nfb.gc.ca/sg/100122.pdf



Hand-out, Hand out Luminous Animated Works


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