Research 1.5: Observing emotion

TASK: View the following animated shorts with the sound turned off. Write a paragraph on the emotional impact of three of the films. Identify the animation techniques used and the degree to which the emotional effects are achieved through the approach to movement. Theno play each with the sound turned on and note whether the impact of each film is changed, heightened or lessened by the soundtrack.

Extend this research task by considering the relationship of sound, movement, and emotion within other animations.

Adam Becket, Dear Janice (1972)

This animation somewhat baffled me. Looking up on Wikipedia I found ‘Beckett developed a unique technique that involved creating a loop of images that continued to evolve with each loop cycle. With only a handful of images, the film itself appears as a growing and expanding abstract loop. This was augmented with phasing of the imagery, changing the area of view, and other sophisticated uses of the optical printer.

Without sound I found this dreamy and whimsical, but much too long. I did not know if it was serious, or a spoof on saccharine romanticised femininity of cheap Greetings cards. Looking at some of his other animations I suspect the latter.


Tadanori Yokoo, KISS KISS KISS (1964)

Ward Kimball, Escalation (1968)

This caricature of Lyndon Johnson presents him as getting sexually aroused and then at the end ejaculating and burned out by a rising tide of escalation of the products of US corporations, women, war and nuclear bomb. an is immediately comprehensible without sound – and short to the point. It uses stop motion cutout animation for the man, and photo sequences.
The soundtrack attracts attention by slow drumming, followed by Glory Glory Halleluja by brassband, with a seties of explosions at the end. These illustrate and reinforce rather than significantly add to to the visuals.

Mary Ellen Bute, Abstronic (excerpt) (1952)

Walter Ruttman, Lichtspiel Opus 1-4 (1925)