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October 1, 2008

Inspirational Artists: Stop Motion Project

I think I will be interpreting inspiration in an indirect sort of way for this assignment. I have had three significant influences in this area of the arts, even though I haven't done animation previously my understanding of it has been shaped by what these artists were able to show with their work. Therefore my work isn't technically associated with their works or ideas, rather it is my way of thought. First and foremost Jan Svankmajer, I saw his first work about a year ago in a philosophy of art lecture. I like his stuff from work to work, but this first piece animating a european football match was pretty amazing, absurd, and humorous at the same time. The sense of pretty wild exploration was a part of it, seeing elements that were very odd or actions which could not be described (logically) but were happening everywhere. It was pretty far out for me at the moment. After that I stumbled upon a work of René Laloux and it was beautiful. He is my most admired animator to date, his animated film Fantastic Planet is perhaps his best known work. It has very intricate ideas weaved into it and combines wonder with some interesting philosophical questions. Laloux is actually highly excellent at combining these two elements. His first work I saw, "Time Masters," leaves you with a thought that will leave a lasting impression. His third work, "Gandahar," is also worth watching. Finally the third person who has exerted influence over me in this pursuit was Jorgen Leth. His "Perfect Human" and especially the reworked constraint version are actually filmed, but because of the constraints that were taken by him as a challenge from a friend the work is heavily rooted in understanding animation. It is rather a collection of sequenced images than a continuous flowing film. Leth explored several themes in these works, I was most impressed with the Cuban variation and the Bombei ghetto variation. Humanity is a strange concept, it is so different all over the world, a living thing of sorts. And yet people always try to pin it down to something concrete, something specific. That is perhaps the hardest realization to make, that everything is living and changing, nothing is the same from one instance to the next.