June 6, 2017

“You can only see it by looking and looking and looking…”

On June 3, the 2017 VIS Animation Avantgarde programme block titled “The Subject” offered us a total of 11 short films. The programme booklet of the festival promised a focus on the individual: subjective perspectives, personal fears, wishful thinking, sexual fantasies, depressing memories, fantastic adventures of the mind… And it delivered fabulously.

In the almost full hall of Filmcasino, the audience was exposed to the naked artistic manifestation of the human condition. Jake Fried’s Mind Frame (US) started the program block with black-and-white psychedelic transformations of the human physique. The following film, Wall Dust by Haiyang Wang (China), also focuses on the transformative. Its highly pleasing visual sequences of animated metamorphosis of the human subject into various objects or organisms mesmerized the viewer and pulled him or her into a whirlwind of total oneness with the world. The fleeting spark of personal identity randomly traveled through life and then – in a surprising and brilliant ending – jumped to an unexpected meta-level.

The next film, Dissociation (Dirk de Bruyn, Australia) opened with a barrage of sound and visual snippets of scratched film strips, letters painted on the film material, repetitive sonic collages… Seemingly random, this audiovisual assault was underlined by a persistent sound of a male voice murmuring in the recording device. As the film progressed, this fragmented voice started to make more and more sense, as it tiredly repeated: “You can only see it by looking and looking and looking…”

After Dissociation attacked the audience with total personal fragmentation, The Laughing Spider (Keiichi Tanaami, Japan) and Dubious Encashment (Xenia Lesniewski, Germany) surprised us with a colorful collage of audiovisual fragments which heavily relied on the elements borrowed from everyday life and popular culture. The Empty (France/South Korea) by Dahee Jeong offered a completely different approach. It focused on the intimate experience of a personal living space, drawing dusty interiors with subtle colors and precise lines, producing visual gloom.

Tough (Jennifer Zheng, UK) introduced an element of cultural heritage and addressed the problems connected to the attempt of preserving it in a foreign environment. Spank Shot (Gina Kamentsky, US) used avantgarde drawing and collage techniques to portray sports motifs.

Dinko Štimac