22 Mar 2010

Animation Theatre 4: Getting back to the Uncanny Valley

Today we saw Jan Svankmajer’s dimensions of dialogue, Brother Quay’s Street of Crocodiles and The Comb also Jiri Barta’s The Club of the laid of.

All of the works has the specific uncanny feel. That probably comes from the familiar being put in an unexpected way.

An example of that would be from Jan Svankmajer’s Dimensions of Dialogue. Clay sculptures of human figures and its performance –the animation were convincing enough to be perceived as real human (in particular as lovers). The beginning of animation presents a normal situation, a man and a woman figures start feeling emotions over each other. Than rapidly the animation goes to extremes – they start making love and literally grow into each other. A very interesting moment was when suddenly them coming back at ease we see a bit of shapeless clay between them – apparently it came from their body material, but not one of them wants it back. I’d interpret it , they have lost something , that tiny bit of them selves that’s very important. Subsequently wee see a change in both of the figures – rather than being sensitive and loving as in the beginning they literally destroy each other.

I noticed Svankmajer first depicts the normal (the meet is sliced) then presents an odd situation (meet starts dancing) and the audience starts feel for the characters and believes in the world created when suddenly (now) something unexpected happens or rather characters get back to their original matters (the sliced meet is being baked, human figures become a mass of clay).

There is just so much more to talk about, to give only few examples – the constant appearance of sex and genital symbols, the rich textures, the stylization, and the construction of atmosphere or the huge difference of the Easter European animation

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