Sunday, April 02, 2006

Steve Woloshen live @ Ontario Cinematheque

This Wednesday, April 5th at the Ontario Cinematheque there will be a retrospective of Steve Woloshen films. Here are a few thoughts about this relatively unknown Canadian animator: Firstly, Steve is a true independent animator as he is one of the few artists that funds his art through his day job. No grants or funding bodies dictate when or where his ideas can be created. With that said, the medium in which he chooses to experiment with is scratch film abstract animation. I can almost hear the groaning. Well, it is almost laughable in Canada at least not to be forced to watch Norman McLaren films ad nauseum like some Clockwork Orange rehab clinic for the narratively depraved. Blinkity Blank becomes Blankity Blank for alot of students! Maybe, this is why Bill Plympton poked fun at abstract animation film at Annecy last year. I dunno. We have to be able to laugh a little at the absurdity in which people view abstract animation. I mean Bill has been riding the same style and humor train for his whole blankity blank career. Rebuttal aside Steve Woloshen along with Richard Reeves, Barbel Neubauer,Stephanie Maxwell and many others are taking scratch film to a new generation of animators. One of the biggest hurdles for abstract animation as Paul Bush (who uses scratch film technique for his film, The Albatross) remarks, is that the images become secondary to the music/soundtrack, i.e. free jazz. I agree with this statement as the music itself is often experimental and therefore another hurdle for the viewer to leap over. This is illustrated by the fact that Steve's latest film Curse of the Voodoo Child was well received at last years OIAF and I think that is part because of the familiarity of the song within pop culture. Juxtapose this with Chris Hinton's, Cnote, as it's energy and exuberance of image in relation to the jazz soundtrack is a two-fold barrier in front of the viewer. By this I DO NOT at all mean to imply Chris's work is subpar but I am just trying to give an access point in which people can see the mark as the MARK. For more, see the Pimp...Scratch here. I have digressed too much here. Go and see Steve Woloshen and his films at the Cinematheque and get synced to the experimental stylings of this cool independent animator.

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