Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Abstract Animation by Michel Gagne

There is in this world a small number of devotees of an obscure artform known as "abstract animation". I was first introduced to abstract animation by filmmaker Larry Cuba who took an entire evening to screen for me the work of Oskar Fischinger on 16 mm in his Venice bungalow. Since that evening in 1977 or so, I have been an intermittant viewer of such films, occassionally dazzled but not always. A great abstract film seems to be particularly hard to do, so it seems, and the field itself is filled with the most painful and obscure politics, to the point where it makes one want to flee in horror, screaming. Of course that would be too representational.

There are several dozen or so great works in the genre and a dozen or so artists in this field including but not limited to the aforementioned Cuba, Whitney, Norman McLaren and others. They are a very select group of people and films. They are not for everybody.

There is a relationship between the early history of computer animation and the field of abstract animation.  The two intertwined once, the new technology was seen as a way of creating abstraction.  Some of the earliest computer animation was therefore also abstract animation.

Recently, Chris Casady, an abstract filmmaker himself, and founder of the famous Roto Effects of America, brought a new film (new to me, anyway) in this genre. I was very impressed, and think it is one of the best I have seen. It is abstract, modern, and yet a subtle homage to the feeling of symbols of the 50s and 60s.

I have no doubt that my few paragraphs here have managed to annoy some of my friends and colleagues in this little circle, but I have taken that risk in order to bring this wonderful short film to your attention.  

This film is called Sensology by Michel Gagne, and it can be located here:

Be sure to turn the resolution up to 720.

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