Strangers Help Animate 6-ft Dummy to Create Performance Art

Strangers Help Animate 6-ft Dummy to Create Performance Art

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As an homage to Ray Harryhausun and his films like Clash of the Titans, I thought it would be fun to shoot an art project similar to the movie, but on a smaller scale. As it turns out, it was not fun… it was really, really hard. But when I decided to let strangers step in to help, the result was magical.

I had wanted to make this for video for about 2 years, and I thought that to begin, I would have to make a model by hand. However, fate decided to show me the dummy for sale online at a very reasonable price.
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We started shooting the video on February 3rd as part of the Connect 2 Digital Scheme at the UK Aberystwyth Arts Centre in Ceredigion.  I often work with the public community groups, so I wanted the animation process itself to become a performance of the people. We decided to try and get the public to move the figure and be in the video with us, making an aesthetic out of it’s creation. I worried that this would slow us down, or that people wouldn’t come over and help, but I was amazed at just how willing people were to be a part of it. When we set up — rather than me forever running after people and asking them to help — there was a continuous slew of people asking to play along.

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Even though it didn’t rain or snow the whole day — which it does a great deal in Aberystwyth — there were still plenty of bumps along the way. The dummy constantly needed adjustments, and pieces kept falling off as we went along, but after shooting from dusk till dawn, we managed to get it across the finish line.

The dummy references texts like Pinocchio, Mannequin (whatever happened to the actor in that? I think he was called Robert Downey something… ?) Winter’s Tale, and all those other stories where figures come alive. It also looks at changing the way animation works; pushing it to the limit on how you can create motion and making the process a performance.

(WATCH our video above…)