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. 


We're looking for one. Almost too urgently. If you're interested or know anyone who might be, please check the Opportunities section at animateproject.org.  Deadline 6 October.

Take the Animate Projects' Survey

We're interested in finding out more about the good people who use animateprojects.org so we've set up a survey here.

We'd like your thoughts about our current website and also about the new online magazine that we'll be launching in early 2009. Plus, we'd like your suggestions for some all time Top Ten lists that we're drawing up.

All those who complete the survey will be entered in to a prize draw to win an iPod nano.

The survey runs until 10 November.

26 September 2008

Here: Radical Animation reminder

Here: Radical Animation is at Whitechapel London this weekend...Barry Doupe on Saturday, Jim Hollands and Patricide on Sunday...

Be there. Be.

25 September 2008

Dummy Jim

You must visit Mr Matt Hulse's website for Dummy Jim - his feature film project about a deaf Scotsman who cycled to the Arctic Circle and back again.  It really is fantastically gorgeous, and rich with animations, drawings and film.

Matt has made two films for Animate - Half Life and Hotel Central.  Oh...and some other stuff too...

I recall that years ago he made a film where he pixillated himself naked, and that got him a spread (as it were) in Health and Efficiency magazine. 

23 September 2008

Horse Power at Metal, Edge Hill, Liverpool

Horse Power, a show curated by our friends Al and Al, at Metal's space on Edge Hill station, a £1 return ride from Liverpool Lime Street. For some reason it's not part of the Biennial, but that's the Biennial's loss.

I've never really been able to figure out quite what Metal is for/does, and I always thought the Aga sponsorship was an indicator that it wasn't for the likes of me (I'm more baby belling), but Horse Power is just great - modest, but perfectly put together. A mixed show - painting, video, comic book, and non-art stuff, on the theme of horse power, and inspired by the site of the gallery. It's in building right on the station platform, and it's where Stephenson set off on the steam-powered Rocket in 1830...relegating actual horsepower to history, but sticking with the measure..

The exhibition includes the great avant-garde 2 screen classic Berlin Horse by Malcolm Le Grice, with music by Brian Eno, showing in the downstairs 23 seat cinema. And the brilliant and chilling Dead Horse, by Tim 'bullet time' Macmillan. Tim's made two films for Animate.

The show is a real treat. And there's excellent (if photocopied) booklet, full of interesting perspective. It runs until 1 November, and if you're in/going to Liverpool, we recommend not to miss.

The photo shows Al and Al with Jenny from Metal.

BUG at the BFI

BUG 09 recently took place at the BFI Southbank.

I loved the dark hand-drawn tale of Canadian artist Chad VanGaalen called Molten Light, above. VanGaalen is an animator and illustrator, who creates fantastical lo-fi music videos for his own songs, using a seemingly childlike and simplistic felt-tip pen drawn style to depicit his dark fantasies.

This show, BUG looked at interactive videos and showed work by experimental filmmaker Vincent Morisset. Morisset is known for his 'web-friendly' videos and his collaborations with alternative rock band Arcade Fire. Check out his award-winning music video Be online B for yourself, if you haven't already.

I also really enjoyed seeing the music video for Yuki's Sentimental Journey by the multi-talented (but now sadly deceased) Japanese artist Nagi Noda who has created some brilliant music videos and adverts - just check out this fabulous dancing eyeball video.

In amongst the music videos were a few highly imaginative shorts by American artist PES best known for his stop-motion treat, Western Spaghetti. If you check out his website, eatPES, there are a couple of nice 'making of' films, alongside his short films and commercials.

BUG 10, is at the BFI on 6 and 26 of November. If you would like to send work for consideration for future shows, e-mail info@bugvideos.co.uk

Image: Frogger by PES

22 September 2008

Liverpool Biennial 2008

Office trip to Liverpool for the Biennial opening and a jolly time. Especially with good friends at FACT - we are working with them on something very exciting indeed for next year...

Land, by Ulf Langheinrich, is in their main space. A screen of 'noise' - like a furious mass of swarming bees - forms into 3D animated abstractions. It's sensory and sensational, and avoids/counters the narrative pomposity of Douglas Trumbull's 3D movies for the Luxor, Las Vegas. Ulf is in the picture...just snuck to the left of FACT Director Mike Stubbs. Lots of other photos I couldn't post here, but may well do if the cheques don't arrive.

The Biennial's great, though the website and guide material seem to make visiting harder than it should be.

10 September 2008

AnimateTV 2008 new films - first outing

And last night we had a preview screening of the films we commissioned last year - seven of them! It was all a bit nerve-wracking - the first time anyone except us and the artists had seen them, and all on a big screen at the Birkbeck/ICO preview cinema.

They looked and sounded great and went down a storm.

Catch them on Channel 4 on 21 September (five to midnight). They'll be on animateprojects.org in October, and there are live launch events from November - Aurora Festival in Norwich, Encounters Festival at Arnolfini in Bristol, FACT Liverpool, finishing up at Tate Modern at the beginning of December. Actual dates and times when we've got them.

AnimateTV 2009 - new projects selected

We had our advisory panel meeting last week, followed by interviews, and finally made a decision. It was particularly tough this year, especially when we got down to the final six.

The AnimateTV 2009 Advisory Panel members were: Ruth Jarman (artist, Semiconductor), Alex Maclean (Creative Director/Founder, Airside), and Polly Staple (Director, Chisenhale Gallery), along with Jacqui Davies and Gary Thomas (Co-directors of Animate Projects), and Ruth Fielding from Lupus Films - C4's animation consultants who are developing 4mations.tv.

And the commissioned artists are...Thomas Hicks, Petra Freeman, Cordelia Swann, and Sarah Wood.

Lots of information very soon at animateprojects.org

AnimateTV is commissioned by Channel 4, and supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.