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Art

A Short Film Chronicles Mural Fest Kosovo, Void Projects' Initiative to Infuse a War-Torn City with Public Art

January 20, 2021

Grace Ebert

“At that time it wasn’t easy for me to be in the public with my camera because the country was very sensitive to reporters like me,” photojournalist Hazir Reka tells a group of muralists. “Being in the public with a camera was no different to being in public with a weapon because of how much it could affect reality.” Reka’s referring to a tumultuous time in Kosovo’s history when the region was in the midst of war, an experience he shares with the artists who traveled to the region in September 2020 for Mural Fest Kosovo.

Organized by the art collective Void Projects (previously), which is helmed by Axel Void, the initiative sought to revitalize the public spaces within Ferizaj, a small city desolated by war. Fifteen international muralists—the list includesAruallan, Emilio Cerezo, Doa Oa, Alba Fabre, Maria Jose Gallardo, and Zane Prater—gathered for the project that U.K.-based filmmaker Doug Gillen documents in a new short film.

Throughout “Change,” Gillen follows ten of the artists as they immerse themselves in local life and engage with the city’s youngest residents through workshops and school initiatives that directly involved the children and teens in the creative process. Their resulting artworks are a reflection of these interactions and large-scale depictions of the area’s ecology, citizens, and cultural milieu. While each is distinct in aesthetic—Aruallan and Void produced a photorealistic rendering of an 11-year-old boy they met on the street, while Fabre’s ethereal mural depicts an unknown woman lying in the water in traditional clothing, for example—they’re all infused with themes surrounding the city’s unique environment and more universal understandings of shared humanity.

“The greater this connection, the more effective the work. Exploring the human stories of Ferizaj in this way, at this very unique moment in time, felt like an important opportunity to document meaningfully,” Gillen said.

Watch the full film above to dive further into Kosovo’s history, and see all of the murals and glimpses into the artists’ experiences collaborating with Ferizaj residents on Void Projects’ Instagram.

 

 

 



Animation Art Illustration

Around the Block: David Zinn's Quirky Chalk Cartoons Spring to Life in a New Short Film

January 15, 2021

Grace Ebert

If you’ve walked the streets of Ann Arbor, Michigan, in the last few decades, you’ve probably spotted the wide-eyed monsters and mischievous dragons of David Zinn (previously). Since 1987, the artist has been drawing chalk-and-charcoal creatures in site-specific works that wash away with the rain. Drain pipes become robotic dogs, a pillar morphs into a giant pencil, and a green monster pops out of a brick walkway.

A new short film directed by Jonnie Lewis dives into Zinn’s practice by animating his signature cartoon cast that greets the artist as he walks around the city. Watch “Around the Block” on Lewis’s Vimeo, and check out more of Zinn’s eccentric creatures on Instagram.  (via Laughing Squid)

 

 

 



Animation

The Wolf House: A Horror Film Plunges into the Disturbing Mind of a Child through a Blend of Stop-Motion Animation and Murals

January 12, 2021

Grace Ebert

Joaquín Cociña and Cristóbal León descend into the psychologically disturbing world of a child escaped from religious fanatics in their feature-length film The Wolf HouseLayered with audio of unsettling voices and the quiet mutterings of a young girl, the grotesque animation seamlessly blends horror and documentary as it recounts some of the tragedies of the Colonia Dignidad, the post-World War II colony that was established by Germans and Chileans under the dictatorial rule of General Augusto Pinochet. Founded in 1961, the isolated area was infamous for torture, internment, and murder, and The Wolf House showcases its impact on a child who takes refuge in a strange house.

Fans of filmmaker Daisy Jacobs and artist BLU will recognize some of the methods used in Cociña and León’s work, including classic stop-motion techniques and painting directly on the walls of the set. Characters shift constantly, whether between two and three dimensions as they morph from murals into sculptural creatures or as they contort their bodies from life-sized forms to massive heads and from human to animal.

Cociña and León, who are from Chile originally, have been collaborating since 2007 and lead the Santiago-based production company Diluvio. You can stream The Wolf House on ScreeningRoom, and see more of the duo’s genre-bending work on their site and Vimeo.

 

 

 



Food Science

Dry Out: A Timelapse Chronicles Dozens of Leaves, Fruits, and Organisms As They Shrivel

January 7, 2021

Grace Ebert

Dry Out” plunges into the minute details of the evaporation process through a dramatic series of timelapses. Shot with macro-lenses and microscopes, the grotesque short film by Christian Stangl reveals water droplets, leaves, and succulent fares, like berries and even whole fish, transforming into their gaseous counterparts during the course of days and weeks. Watch more of Stangl’s films that dive into the lengthy processes of the natural world on Vimeo, and check out stills of the process on Flickr.

 

 

 



Animation

Freeze Frame: A Meditative Stop-Motion Short Explores Preservation and Decay Through a Tedious Ice Harvest

December 30, 2020

Grace Ebert

Brussels-based director Soetkin Verstegen bills her methodical and nostalgic animation “Freeze Frame” as a “miniature cinema inside an ice cube.” Produced in a grainy, vintage style, the black-and-white short loosely follows workers as they harvest and attempt to preserve the frozen blocks. Amidst scenes of the monotonous, assembly-line efforts are insects, frogs, and various creatures swimming across the frames and eventually, crystallizing into skeletal ice sculptures.

In a conversation with Short of the Week, Verstegen spoke to the difficulty of using such a transient material, calling it “the most absurd technique since the invention of the moving image.” The tedious nature of stop-motion further matches the repetitive movements of the film’s subjects, forming “a playful puzzle with formal ideas around early cinema, decay, and preservation.”

You can find more of Verstegen’s short films that experiment with animation techniques on Vimeo.

 

 

 



Art

Dialogo: A Frenzied Short Film Translates Indiscernible Audio into Kinetic Sound Sculptures

December 28, 2020

Grace Ebert

Juxtaposing natural elements and mechanics, “Dialogo” harnesses the frenetic, indiscernible components of language into a synesthetic experience. A mix of stop-motion and live-action, the short film features entirely hand-crafted sculptures by the Madrid-based design studio blo que. Each motorized work translates human utterings into movement, whether through an undulating tube of neon or oscillating florals, generating new associations in a conversation between the senses.

To represent the original audio in a visual manner, blo que converts the speech waveforms into animation curves, which subsequently mobilizes the sculpture’s engines. “This is the voice of nature and order or the control of what cannot be controlled,” the studio says. “The passing of time in nature (freezing, rotting, etc.) is connected to the time of sound reproduction. This bond creates relationships between human emotions, language, and nature.”

blo que details the lengthy creation process for the film on its site, and you can follow future projects that merge the tangible and digital on Vimeo and Instagram.

 

 

 

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