Made At CalArts: Experimental Animation, 1974 – Present

Still from Ship of Fools (2016) by Josh Shaffner

Made At CalArts: Experimental Animation, 1974 – Present   
Introduced by Curator Alexander Stewart 
Close-Up, Sunday 4th March, 18.00 


This programme features a selection of experimental animation work made at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), from the programme’s foundation in the early 1970’s through to the present day. With a focus on the aesthetic innovation, unrestrained spirit, and emphasis on personal vision that have defined CalArts in its 45 years of existence, the lineup includes eccentric cartoons, cosmic psychedelia, existential crises, subtle studies in textural abstraction, and stroboscopic reveries. These films represent an approach to animation that is by turns ambitious, introspective, joyful, and imaginative: uniquely and distinctively CalArts.

This programme has been guest-curated for the Edge of Frame Weekend 2018 by Alexander Stewart, co-founder of the Eyeworks Festival of Experimental Animation. He lives in Los Angeles and teaches in the Experimental Animation program at CalArts. His own short films have screened internationally, including at the International Film Festival Rotterdam, the Ottawa International Animation Festival, the Ann Arbor Film Festival, and Image Forum in Japan. 

The Edge of Frame Weekend 2018 is supported by Jerwood Charitable Foundation, Royal College of Art, and using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.


No Stories Now
CT Bishop
USA 2017 4’24
Hopefully, in moving toward deficiency, there can be recognition of false relief.

Michael Patterson
USA 1981 4’45
A rhythmic meditation on a man’s workaday life, where passages of high-speed cacophony alternate with moments of calm introspection. A loose rotoscoping technique combines depictions of a fast-paced urban environment, midcentury figures with noir overtones, flickering single-frame abstractions of movement, and the respite of the suburbs.

Jamie Wolfe
USA 2016 3’05
Sanity diminishes as the temperature rises.

Steve Hillenburg
USA 1992 7′
A fly rests on the steering wheel of a car moving along a suburban roadscape. Time dilates and contracts in a cyclical moment of existential contemplation.

Calvin Frederick
USA 2014 4’30
A film about September 11, 1991/2001/2057.

Boulder Ranch
Kevin Eskew
USA 2016 1’45
He thinks, “My capacities are better than my wildest fantasies.”

Log Hill Story / Film for Log Hill Dogs
Diana Wilson
USA 1976 4′
Inspired by her life in Colorado, these two short films are an elegant depiction of landscape and domestic space.

Mountain Castle Mountain Flower Plastic
Annapurna Kumar
USA 2017 3′
Small pieces of information can be stored separately within a shared container. The most efficient containers can house multiple pieces of information in the same location, intersecting from different angles.

Amy Kravitz
USA 1988 5’30
A film composed solely of stark abstract images animated with black lithographic crayon on paper. “The Trap” was inspired by a quote from holocaust survivor, Elie Wiesel’s book, Souls on Fire: “I try to imagine my grandfather in the train that carried him away.” Using the language of pure animation, “The Trap” articulates the difficult and disturbing sensations of that last journey.

Govinda’s Vision
John Campbell
USA 1993 3’25
A set of Rorschach ink-blot images animated with a replacement technique.

Lazy Daze
Brian Smee
USA 2016 4′
Dog in the land where the good life takes you.

Mirror People
Kathy Rose
USA 1974 5′
Funky wicked characters bend and shape space, at times appearing contained by objects and surfaces, and then shifting dimensions via a hand-held mirror.

Utilities Included
Noah Malone
USA 2016 2’50
A loaded dishwasher and a clean conscience.

Ship of Fools
Josh Shaffner
USA 2016 6’17
A cry for help.

Moon Breath Beat
Lisze Bechtold
USA 1980 5′
A stream-of-consciousness animation “loosely about the loss and regaining of creativity”. The film’s depiction of a woman and her cats is handled with a mesmerizing, and at times surprising, use of repetition and rhythm.

Flesh Flows
Adam Beckett
USA 1974 6′
A risqué cartoon transforms into a fluid cosmic abstraction through use of Beckett’s signature optical printing techniques.

Still from Boulder Ranch (2016) by Kevin Eskew