ARTICLE GILLIAN SAGANSKY
PHOTOGRAPHY GILLIAN SAGANSKY
For one of many rescheduled post-Sandy events, contemporary art and video enthusiasts gathered in the New Museum’s lower-level theater for an hour screening of 23 original animation films from Aboveground Animation’s film archive. The program was followed by a panel discussion with eight of the featured artists including Aboveground Animation founder Casey Jane Ellison.
The films ranged between fifteen seconds and fifteen minutes and consisted of a variety of animation techniques and aesthetics–from stop-motion, to hand-drawn, to CGI. The films followed more of a surrealistic dream-like narrative rather than a coherent linear one, relying on incredibly strange, jarring, and vibrant visuals to create a psychedelic visual experience, complete with genderless biomorphic silhouettes, minimal electronic music, and space-like amoebic forms. Although the videos bore very few similarities to one another, they were united in their ability to thrust the viewer into an unimaginable world far removed from reality. During the panel discussion it was surprising to find out that the esoteric and abstruse videos had more to do with the artists’ personal experience of the world rather than a means of escape.
Artist Erin Dunn explained how she creates videos as a way of "coping" with life, while artist Jacolby Satterwhite remarked how "world building is a strategy to document personal mythology." While the viewer is psychologically distanced from the fantastical scenes unfolding before them, they are simultaneously drawn in by the captivating non-sequential and disparate images that are meditative and trance inducing.
For more on Aboveground, check out our earlier post.