Initially daily but now sporadic blog about anime and world animation with a specific focus on the artists behind the work. Written by Ben Ettinger.
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Archives for: February 2008, 01

Friday, February 1, 2008

05:45:06 pm , 369 words, 3660 views     Categories: Animation, Indie, Avant-Garde

Color Dream No. 246

Abstract animation has changed a lot since the days of Oskar Fischinger. The biggest change in recent years has been the shift to digital means of production, which seems to have had the effect of not just making it easier to produce, but also expanding the forms of expression. The internet has in turn made it easier and easier to see this work, so that the combined effect is that it feels like there has been a quantum leap in the evolutionary pace of new forms of expression in abstract animation (and other forms of animation for that matter).

The digital means available now are resulting in a lot of truly interesting new approaches to abstract animation. Much of the work that I've sampled on the internet recently straddles a philosophical line between experimental and animation, so that I often find myself wondering whether what I'm watching should be referred to as animation or experimental video. The line is much clearer when it comes to conventional forms of figurative animation, but seems to become fuzzy when dealing with pure abstraction, especially now that, with digital, the question is not as clear-cut as whether the material is hand-drawn or not. All I care about, in the end, is whether the piece provides an engaging audiovisual experience to the viewer, as opposed to functioning purely on a conceptual level.

In that sense, Michael Theodore's 2007 short film entitled Color Dream No. 246 (which can be seen in full in a nice big version on his website) is yet another great example of this recent burgeoning in abstract digital animation. It's as pure a piece of abstract animation as you'll find, consisting entirely of one long shot of undulating, scintillating, shifting washes of color, but for some mysterious reason it remains engaging at all moments, and so to me functions nicely as a piece of animation and not merely as an abstruse concept piece. The constantly changing clouds of color are imaginative and beautifully executed, and seem like something that would have been hard to achieve before digital, when forms would have to be solidly delineated. The film feels like a worthy continuation of the work of early masters of visual music like Fischinger.

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