The Animal Riot by Mandy Macintosh will be presented as part of Hors Pistes 2012, in the exhibition Le silence des bêtes, at the Pompidou Centre in Paris. Le silence des bêtes is thematically concerned with the animal, with lectures and performances each evening (Jean-Christophe Bailly, Marcela Iacub, Marcus Coates…), installations, and video programmes.
For January’s animator on animator we look into Mandy Macintosh’s influences, working process and her thoughts on handmade Vs the digital. Mandys work uses 3D animation software but the work retains an emphatic sense of the handmade as seen in the Animal Riot. We asked…
Do you see 3D software almost in defiance of the realism that this software is designed to achieve – or is it to you just another tool to experiment with?
I’m really influenced by Dick Bruna (creator of the Miffy children’s books), in how he illustrates and communicates in circles and squares and primary colour. It’s a real aesthetic bias towards that simplicity, and the software is just a tool towards that look.
For The Animal Riot, I wanted the puppets to feel archaic and timeless, so they could stand against these anarchic drawings the primates had made and feel right. I would hate the work to have any kind of reference to software in terms of the ‘cutting edge’, I’m deeply ambivalent about that and it shows. The puppets are aesthetically very considered but then also a reflection of how little I know about 3D computer modeling, which is limited.
I’m not that tuned into realism in terms of 3D capability, I appreciate the skill involved and the capability of the software but for me its an experimental tool to create sculptural objects. Its juxtaposition again, the handmade and the plastic. The way the puppets move is a very basic language, my palette is totally reduced in 3D because I’m not trained in any way, so I work with limited capability but that’s often where really interesting things happen. Zeena described the movement as percussive and that inspired her approach to the score.
You used primate drawings in The Animal Riot – and I wondered what it was about them that made you want to include them?
Initially it was simply the action painting aspect of them, what appeared as abandon, and the random beauty of that abandon. The intrigue of the animal, the metaphor, a notion of brotherhood and solidarity between us and them.
But when I saw primatologist Marina Vancatova’s collection and discussed it with her, I realised that what I was looking at was way more sophisticated than that. And this was down to the fact that as a scientist, she was giving the apes specific visual objects, diagonal lines, dots, squares, horizontal lines… to react to. She needed to gauge their reactions to these empirical shapes to assess patterns of response which would equate to conscious visual decision making, i.e. intelligence.
And I saw the marks the apes made in reaction to these ‘civilised’ forms as embodying the spirit of revolution. That was very exciting, I got engrossed in the ape work and I could start to see real individual traits. Beautiful lyrical marks. And the scientific marks made in black magic marker pen came to represent architecture, farm buildings, Mankind.
The Animal Riot will be on display at The Pompidou Centre from 27 January until 12 February.