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Abstract Animation

Oskar Wilhelm Fischinger (1900 – 1967) was a German-American abstract animator, filmmaker, and painter, notable for creating abstract musical animation many decades before the appearance of computer graphics and music videos. He created special effects for Fritz Lang’s 1929 Woman in the Moon, one of the first sci-fi rocket movies, and influenced Disney’s Fantasia. He made over 50 short films and painted around 800 canvases, many of which are in museums, galleries, and collections worldwide. Among his film works is Motion Painting No. 1 (1947), which is now listed on the National Film Registry of the U.S. Library of Congress.

Norman McLaren

An artist may be like someone who just hears music and then starts to dance

Norman McLaren (1914 – 1987) was a Scottish Canadian animator, director and producer known for his work for the National Film Board of Canada (NFB). He was a pioneer in a number of areas of animation and filmmaking, including hand-drawn animation, drawn-on-film animation, visual music, abstract film, pixilation and graphical sound.

Experiments in Motion

Tempo: The basics of perception of linear movement: Shows the animator’s table with camera, switch and frame counter. Calibration marks and muscle memory. And shows the difference in perceptions of movement through increasing the number of equal spaced moves of a cut-out circle going from A to B. The greater the number of moves, the slower the movement. We interprete this differently depending on our understanding of context eg whether we think the circle is a large sun moving fast or a small golf ball moving slowly. Ends with interesting abacus type comparison of movements at 1-1000 moves between A and B.

Synaesthesia and experiments in sound

Experimental animation

In this animation McLaren created the sounds through drawing on film. The tall vertical geometric shapes make it seem like a film about speed and impersonality of city life. Reminiscent of Mondrian paintings.

Short films

Cold war allegory. Story of two neighbours who kill each other in a fight about a flower that starts to grow along the fence between them.
A Chairy Story: Amusing story of a man trying to sit on a chair. The chair refuses to be sat on until the chair has sat on the man. metaphor for the importance of equality and politeness and not taking power for granted.

Walter Ruttman

Walter Ruttmann (28 December 1887 – 15 July 1941) was a German cinematographer and film director, and along with Hans Richter, Viking Eggeling and Oskar Fischinger was the most important German representative of abstract experimental film. He is best known for directing the semi-documentary ‘city symphony’ silent film Berlin: Symphony of a Metropolis. His audio montage Wochenende (1930) is considered a major contribution in the development of audio plays.