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Eyeworks: Zeitguised

This is the sixth installation of an ongoing series of articles by Alexander Stewart and Lilli Carré, founders of the Eyeworks Festival of Experimental Animation.

Coming across this piece a few years ago was eye-opening. We were excited to see artists working with contemporary 3D animation tools to produce animation as unique, challenging and aesthetically appealing as this. 3D animation obviously has enormous potential as a medium, but as we were looking around in search of exciting experimental work being made in the field, we were seeing much less than we assumed there would be. We had a few ideas as to why this might be (complex production better suited to teams rather than individuals, workflows that limited risk-taking, that the complexity of the tools scared off more “intuitive” animators from learning the software), and we were curious to seek out artists taking advantage of the medium’s many possibilities. There has been noticeably more experimental 3D work surfacing in the past four or five years, but when we saw this film, it felt like a revelation.

Zeitguised is a pair of design-oriented animators who have done some interesting commercial design work. They produced Peripetics, an entrancing collection of hallucinatory vignettes, as a gallery installation, and it must have been an overwhelming and disorienting piece to experience in a gallery

As 3D animators, Zeitguised revel in the textures and surfaces innate to the tools, and delight in creating impossible objects and uncanny scenarios. Their surrealist, high-gloss objects have an air of both Salvador Dali and Jeff Koons. Particularly interesting is their “boolean camera” technique, which creates the effect of a negative shape passing through another object, and calls to mind the cast negative-space sculptures of Rachel Whiteread.

Peripetics is extremely visceral, and evades the logic of language. It feels both curiously familiar and bafflingly alien. But to be overly descriptive about this piece is to do it a disservice. It speaks for itself, and is a totally unique work. Watch it. It’s a treat!

Zeitguised. Peripetics, 2008. 3D animation. 3:20.

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