30 September 2008

Here:Radical Animation Now

The Here event at Whitechapel, London, this weekend was brainstormingly awesome, even if we say so ourselves (actually..we just gave them bit of money to help bring Barry Doupe over from Vancouver). Barry showed his new, feature length film, Ponytail, and Jim Hollands showed Here.

I haven't seen stuff this important for a long, long time. Radical is certainly the word - both films feel extraordinarily attuned and zeitgeisty. I can't say it better than our friend Ian White, who curates the film events at Whitechapel. He described Ponytail as "exploring a technology that loooks like it is on the verge of collapse...disarmingly accessible and simultaneously surreal aesthetic." It's remarkably dextrous - avatar characters that play out strange scenarios, mundane and disturbed by turn. And all the while references, allusions and nuances fly thick and fast.

Ian calls Jim's Here "one of the most important new videos to be made in the UK in recent years", and I don't disagree.  He takes the 60s television of Joe Orton's The Erpingham Camp as its 'baseline', it's an anarchic and controlled, unrelenting, mesmerising. And when the layers (sound as well as visual) seemingly connect, it's exhilarating.

Both films really confound definition, whilst making absolute and provocative sense. 

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