Allow me to preview a shorts program playing at the upcoming San Francisco International Animation Festival. Top Drawers is a selection of brief forays into fantastic universes where gravity has been obliterated, colors resonate like a crystal chime, and harmony is a carefully sculpted ball of clay. You can enjoy these sensational experiences yourself at the New People Cinema on Friday, November 11th at 5pm and again on Sunday, November 13th at 4pm.
The war drums sound, and you’re off – rampaging through the night forest, weaving in and out of pitch black pines, the limestone crackling beneath the momentary weight of your paws. The world around you, compressed into a two-toned blur of frenetic bygones. What’s come out in you is a wildness, a slobbering savagery. Hinterland (Weyde, Althoff 2010).
You hop along joyfully, frolicking and forging ahead in your iodine dream, but before you is a wall that will go unnoticed until you smash up against it. There is a melancholy at the fore and, indeed, the aft. Is it simple curiosity that compels you beyond that wall, or something more? One thing is for certain, you will become something larger. White No White (Bergmann 2010).
A sweet reverie guides the reel over the cerebral lamp. You imagine the places you will be, the hands you will touch, and the dangers you will face. Quickly, then slowly, you approximate a sphericity of being. Every blue is deep and every red is warm. When at last you awake, those wavelengths seem to reach your eyes out of phase. Romance (Schwizgebel 2011).
Up from the sea comes Time Herself and her daughter. A mother, so in love. You’re struck that beauty is not eternal. But you are man, the toolmaker – ingenious to a fault. Encountering a musical stave that bears a set of lines and a cluster of feelings that will arpeggiate and repeat for many ages, you taste obsession. Infinity is alive in the moment, and she will be reinvented frame by frame. Muybridge’s Strings (Yamamura 2011).
Intermittent signals emerge; we’ve made contact. They appear to you as the sounds of a mechancial interaction, but that discounts the life force that is everywhere here apparent. You stand amazed at the cave paintings of some far advanced civilisation. Flux (Sisman 2011).
You float along a digital factory floor, spinning in perpetual elegance. There it is, a neuronal invasion, an antimatter meets matter moment. Industrial fluids are magnetically activated. Freefall is the constant, even while gravity has lost her hold. A quivering panic, you envision. Blankets of pernicious debris rain down on the hopelessly tortured, and the unaffected ones, they act out a self-imposed regimen of frozenness. This is death’s thumping libido. Metachaos (Bavari 2011).
You recall that the universe is a projection, and that all information from the very beginning sits on the surface. Every sculpture, every painting, every man, then, is a pixel on a plane of infinitesimal precision and galactic breadth. Should that projection ever break down, should her scan lines skip a frame, should her colors ever distort, what wires would you behold? What are her Sistine underpinnings? Strata #3 (Quayola 2009).
In fits and starts, our internal rhythms are haunted by the scribbles of our own invention. You know your own story, your own secret places. You have an Achilles’ soul and an abiding terror. I Know You (Krebitz 2010).
Lushness and dehydration coexist in the haze of your hookah smoke. Unpredictable progressions of familiar patterns. Textures of home envelop your carefree childhood dance. A serene psychadelia, a roundness of sound buzz about your head. Fireworks reflected in a cardboard sea. You stutter-step through layers of stilted movement, until your thoughts become fluid and polyphonic again. August Song (Mack 2011).