a nickle bag of animation
Here’s a selection of five videos that have caught my attention recently, all of which are well worth watching. It may only be a nickel bag of animation, but as far as I’m concerned there’s so much sugar here it might as well be a dime.
This is the first decently reproduced Tabaimo video that I’ve been able to find on line. It was presumably aired on Vermilion Pleasure Night, a Japanese television show that combined comedy and animation. This short video is called “Japanese Kitchen” and I’m not sure whether or not it’s a segment from Tabaimo’s larger installation piece, also called Japanese Kitchen, or whether it simply has the same title and deals with the same themes. Tabaimo has a way of making everydayness seem deeply uncanny, and this piece is no exception.
History of the Main Complaint is a piece that examines the question of white culpability in relation to the violent history of apartheid-era South Africa. It was made shortly after the establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Committee and it thematizes not only the act of excavating the submerged memories of South Africa’s violent history but also the question of what might constitute the proper cure for a state that has such a history of a violence and repression engraved literally into the body itself. The pun on “complaint” is key here — a complaint is not only a physical ailment, but also the voice of those repressed South Africans who had been denied treatment for their suffering during the long reign of the apartheid state. William Kentridge employs an animation technique that is perfectly in keeping with the thematic claims that he materializes in this work; using only charcoal he sketches a primary scene and then erases and overlays this primary scene in order to create motion. However, the marks of the previous stills are never completely rendered invisible and their presence functions as a persistent trace of origin that can never be completely forgotten. Just as the traumatic history of apartheid-era South Africa can never be fully suppressed, so the marks on Kentridge’s pages never fully disappear under the onslaught of new production.
This OOIOO video was made by Shoji Goto, an incredible graphic designer and the husband of founding OOIOO member Yoshimi P-We. Shoji, who I’ve had the pleasure of meeting a few times, is an incredibly nice guy and is responsible for most (if not all) of the cover art for OOIOO’s releases. It’s art that matches the OOIOO aesthetic well — a kind of imaginary cosmic pre-Jomon tribal pantheism as filtered through a dozen psychedelic effects circuits and viewed through a thousand-sided prismatic crystal ball. I’ve seen OOIOO live several times now, and each time was an experience of total transportation. You can download a more high-fidelity version of this video here.
I don’t know much about Metric, but this particular song sounds like the most fantastic Breeders number that never made it to wax. I also don’t know much about Deco Dawson, except that he’s a young Canadian filmmaker and the director of this video. There’s nothing particular new, startling, or revelatory about this video, but somehow all the elements cook together perfectly and I have to admit to being more than a little smitten with it. Check out the Deco Dawson site for information about his films, as well as links to a vast library of fantastic early work that’s suspiciously reminiscent of Guy Maddin’s style.
Finally, here’s a little rarity that I stumbled upon entirely by accident. It’s a Tadanori Yokoo version of the ChimChimChiree song from Mary Poppins, apparently from 1966. I don’t know any more about it than that, but it’s pretty early Tadanori and it actually reminds me a lot of the work that Heinz Edelmann did for Yellow Submarine. Of course, Yellow Submarine came out in 1968 so there couldn’t have been any direct influence on this animation. Maybe it was something in the water.
Filed under: animation, art, cinema, culture, film, history, Japan, music, scraps and bones, video | 2 Comments
Tags: animation, apartheid, たばいも, チムチムチェリー, charcoal animation, charcoal drawing, ChimChimChiree, chimney sweep, chimney sweep song, Deco Dawson, History of the Main Complaint, Japanese Kitchen, Mary Poppins, Metric, OOIOO, Shoji Goto, South Africa, Tabaimo, Tadanori Yokoo, video, video art, William Kentridge, 後藤 章治, 横尾忠則