Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Abstract Woody

I watched a lot of Woody as a small child, Popeye as well. And while I did watch many other things, these are what I consider the classics that have had the greatest impact on my world view, aesthetically and pragmatically. The NYTimes say this
“Culhane essentially ‘hid’ his artful excursions in plain sight, letting them rush past too rapidly for the notice of most of his audience,” Mr. Klein writes in the 15-page article, titled “Woody Abstracted: Film Experiments in the Cartoons of Shamus Culhane.”
In the article Mr. Klein describes Mr. Culhane, who was credited in his work then as James Culhane, as a devotee of the avant-garde. He was influenced by the writings of Russian theorists like Sergei Eisenstein and Vsevolod Pudovkin, Mr. Klein writes, and spent evenings at the American Contemporary Gallery in Hollywood. There, he watched films by Fritz Lang and Jean Renoir, might have seen paintings by Oskar Fischinger and definitely “was inclined to wear a beret.”

Mr. Klein writes that one of (Culhane's) experiments was a two-second piece of an explosion in “Woody Dines Out,” from 1945. He finds the frames “improvised like visual music” in what Mr. Culhane acknowledged in his autobiography, “Talking Animals and Other People,” was an Eisenstein-inspired moment.

The longest such experimental sequence was in the seven-second steamroller smash-up in “The Loose Nut,” also from 1945. And, later in that cartoon, Woody is blown into an abstract configuration that Mr. Klein, in his article, calls “the convergence of animation and Soviet montage.”

Here is the abstract from the paper
In his autobiography, animator Shamus Culhane describes the mid-1940s as a period of artistic awakening for him, when he engaged with the works of film theorists such as Russian Formalists Sergei Eisenstein and Vsevolod Pudovkin.Working at that point as a director at the Walter Lantz studio, he resolved to put theory to practice and began experimenting within the Lantz cartoons, taking liberties with approved storyboards to apply modern techniques.Working largely on such commercial fare as Woody Woodpecker cartoons, Culhane had little latitude to create anything that was avant-garde, so he employed a hit-and-run approach, offering moments of musical and filmic experimentation.Although the Woody cartoons might seem an unlikely vehicle for this, this article reveals how the wild and zany Woodpecker characterization provided a fairly ideal opportunity for Culhane’s modernist mischief to blend in with the frenetic vigor of these short films.

Here is a video.

And.. sorting algorithms explained through dance

And now for blob transportation....


And this is a really great inspiration. Some very good insight buried in the pretension (it s not to aggressive, but there).


Post a Comment

<< Home