Pixelation – Nov 2012

See first animation observation here

These photos remind me of this pixelation video by Joao Machado called Gestures, referenced by Doug Belshaw :

Second Observation: Nov 26 2012.

The Year 10’s learn another type of animation technique known as pixelation – the use of real objects, drawings, people that are moved using stop motion techniques to produce a surreal, jerky quality to the action. Shelley: “It’s real but it’s not real….” She goes on to say that animated people in particular become like puppets, disassociated from the real. They hold a different fascination because you’re trying to figure out how it was done as well as enter into the fantasy… they’re used to working with younger children who are more willing to engage in fantasy than your average 14-15 year old.

The boys watched their own work from last week – the abstract Len Lye work. Some of their comments reflected how difficult it is for them to grasp non-figurative, abstract work: “It doesn’t look like art” & “It looks like a big mess”. John explains that this is what you get when you “let go of control and give your art up to chance”. He mentions Jackson Pollack’s “system of artwork” and his methods.

They watched Chris Martin’s ‘Strawberry Swing’ animation for inspiration, produced and created by London-based visual artists Shynola. This would have been meticulously story boarded:

When they were watching the pop video there was a different quality of attention, some didn’t watch at all, some were chatting quietly and others were wrapped …. possibly down to a genre that they were familiar with, they were more relaxed and lapsed into a behaviour that they would ordinarily have adopted outside the classroom.

J & Sh. demonstrate the required task which had one constraint – that they wanted to see a hand involved in the animation, so that the boys had to put something of themselves into the work. Contrasting with other animation tasks where the hand that manipulates must ‘never’ be in shot. Thick, clear, simple, sharp lines work best in this type of animation which is drawn. Importance of planning “as any design company would”. There’s much talk of “university” / “art college” and “the workplace” – by John and by the learning mentor, Jimmy.

Whilst observing , the ‘Cover Supervisor’ came to talk to me (an English and Music teacher ordinarily), asking what I was doing there. After a brief explanation, he called over Jimmy Coley – the learning mentor – who’d just been talking to him about the need for more of this type of group work and hands on activity. Jimmy had taken a group of Year 10 students to Excel the previous weekend for the Skills London 2012 Careers Fair. We set up a meeting for Wed. when I come back to watch the Nurture Group. He said he wouldn’t mind being recorded.

The chalk on the blackboards and cloth for wiping work really well, emulating the Coldplay video in miniature. Most of the boys at each work station – particularly Group B – come up with highly considered, controlled animations (… I say boys because there were few girls opting for ICT in this year group). They seem to get the idea that you have to work together with sustained focus to achieve something “sick”. There’s a sense that although you’re controlling all aspects of the work, it’s still a surprise when you review your few seconds of artistry…. and continually review it. The students get an idea of what’s possible and run with it, adding idea after idea… One of the boys’ finished products after about 25 mins:

I’d like to edit the few iMovie clips I took into one and publish on Vimeo … if the whim takes me. I took a few of the process which are interesting. I asked Laleen the ICT teacher if I could interview the some of the students. Might be OK – but there’d need to be more admin and probably all manner of ethics forms before I did that…

A bit of further research indicates that there ain’t nothing new in the pixelation technique – see this silent film Segundo de Chomón’s ‘El Hotel electrico’ 1905. The earliest known example of pixelation, depicting a kind of automatic hotel where things happen ‘by themselves’:

It’s interesting to compare this with contemporary work such as that by blublu.org. For example:

Other inspirational work that the class didn’t see but Sh. & J, mentioned – Thom York’s ‘There There’:

and Michael Gondry’s ‘Science of Sleep’ – Gael Garcia Bernal confusing dream with reality:

and this glorious viral video (nearly 10 million views thus far) – Western Spaghetti – from PES:

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