Marcus Bird's Tokyo Story

The Creative Potential of Pecha Kucha Presentations

N.L.S., A New Local Space

Deborah Anzinger's artist run residency and exhibition space in Kingston

Remembering Kumina

Rex Nettleford's Legacy and The National Dance Theatre Company

Light Sensitive

Marlon James' black and whites

Annalee Davis: ON THE MAP

Caribbean Political Documentary

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The far reach of William Kentridge

Last year I saw this film made by one of the recent graduates of Edna Manley College, Dwayne Scott.

I thought immediately that this artist has been influenced by William Kentridge.
Its hard not to be I suppose when Kentride's aesthetic and method is ideal for the artist without very much access to hi-tech equipment and lets face it very few media artists working in third world nations have that kind of access. It is also ideal for the artist who is just that, an artist linked to the traditions of drawing and painting. This method of working produces that much dreamed about in-between ideal: drawing/ painting in motion. Drawings in motion are the other reference for Animation of course but somehow the phrase 'drawings in motion' or 'animation' seems associated with cartoons and comic character style animation. Kentridge's and subsequently Scott's motion drawings are located on a whole other branch of animation. That branch which pursued process, play and low-tech inventiveness. A branch where strength of content and meaning in the work is very personal as well as socially and politically impactive. (Read more about Dwayne Scott's work on Facebook )

I recently found myself traveling 14 hours roundtrip by bus to view the Kentridge blockbuster travelling show in Japan: 'What We See & What We Know'. Though the show was in lovely Hiroshima, I only had time and energy for one activity and the activity I chose was to see the Kentridge show. Why would I make that choice?
Well it was the first time I would have had the opportunity to view his works in person and as far back as 5 years ago, it was being recommended that I see his work.

How was it?
Well what I learned was to become more confident in my own way of making images and to truly not feel restricted by my own perceived lack of resources or industry-standard technique. One of my favourite things was seeing a drawing for 'Felix in Exile' where a slit was cut in the paper to slide a cut out-doll figure through the larger drawing. This was to create the illusion of Felix on the ramp entering a CAT scan machine. Something like that brings a smile to my face when it can often seem that in order to start work a high tech video editing and compositing suite is required.

On another note the process of bringing a still image into the appearance of motion was much documented in that show and many of the residues and tools utilized were exhibited as well. In that I found that the magician was leaving a door open to view the illusion. It made me enjoy the trickery even more. I only wish that artists truly aligned with this working method might have more access to viewing these works in this age of video sharing facilities. Perhaps that means rethinking the place and approach to film and animation made for fine art audiences.