Sunday, 7 February 2010

"Like writing history with sand"

The basic tool of the animator is imagination – drawing skills and a skewed sense of proportions comes second. The animator understands that no thing in nature is immutable – shape, size, and nature change over time and space. That is a constant and - for those who are open enough to appreciate it (the number who are wary and afraid of change isn’t small) a beautiful - process. And what more apt way to animate than use sand – an ever-potent symbol of time and transformation.

Sergey Nazarov enthralled us as the wiry mane of an old wise man suddenly became the everflowing waves of the sea, as the creepy vine by the lonely window overlooking two lovers on the beach turned into a girl’s long hair, as solar systems evolved – the table with its sand was a world of its own, Sergey the little child whose imagination transformed things as he wanted.

What an idea, Sergey!
(Thanks to Mukti 2010 organisers for the experience.)

Videos of Sergey performing: 1, 2, 3, 4. (The NITD performance has been recorded too, but the video is not up on youtube still.)


Talking of animation, cartoons have always been close to me. One of the best animated films I have seen is Walt Disney's 1929 production - The Skeleton Dance (download). In the words of Eisenstein, it is Disney's infantile imagination that makes Skeleton Dance so wonderful.


Kaushik Chatterjee said...

I was fascinated watching the images in the moving sands, some familiar and well rounded, quite a few of them abstract and imaginary, bold and angular, taking such queer shapes and patterns, easily mutating from one to the other and yet another, as you have said!. Absolute kudos to Sergey! The puppet shows, ventriloquism, shadow graphics used to mesmerize our childhood days and now it's the turn of the vibrant sand-art to take its weirdest possible forms, ably supported by multimedia projections, polychromatic shows and sound systems!!

Is the title of your entry inspired from the communist-poet John Cornford’s, lines: "And history forming in our hands/ Not plasticine but roaring sands….We are the future…."?
Thanks, dear for this fantastic experience!

Sudipto Basu said...

No, the title came from Woodrow Wilson's remark after having watched D.W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation.

Griffith's film was the genesis of film as a medium, probably also the point where cinema was recognised as an art in itself.

I was therefore likening Wilson's novel experience with mine at having witnessed an art which is the first of its kind. We all have toyed with sand in childhood, but it was just the same as what the first cinematographers did - our craft had no language and concrete shape of its own.

Kaushik Chatterjee said...

Thanks for enlightening me! That was most thoughtful and imaginative of you, dear.There's always that extra nugget of wisdom I continue to get from this little master that moves me, prods me to think again....