Unless you’re in the business of animation or motion graphics you are probably not familiar with the name onedotzero, but you will certainly be aware of some of the work it has produced, commissioned or installed around the world. Chances are you’ve seen music videos by directors like Michel Gondry and Spike Jonze, whom onedotzero helped popularise, or a one-off performance at the BFI IMAX or even a strange motion-sensitive LED panel that appeared in the Victoria and Albert Museum courtyard a few years back.
onedotzero is an organisation that promotes cutting-edge motion graphics work through a series of festivals, educational programmes and exhibits. On September 9, it will be kicking off its 2009 adventures in motion tour at the BFI Southbank in London. The festival, as always, is a mixed bag of shorts, music videos, features and interactive content. It’s impossible to characterise the overall tone of the myriad entries in the festival but there is an undeniable twee quality to many of the works – an inevitable consequence of the playful outlook of their creators, or perhaps of the fact that many of the participants are production companies, who must remain somewhat ‘advertising-friendly’. But for every nascent mobile phone advert there are plenty of edgy future concepts for Warp Records videos or stunning ideas for art installations.
This year’s festival includes several strands of content. Highlights include:
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Possibly the best introduction to onedotzero for novices, this programme features the best short films and animations of the last year. You may be able to find most of these on YouTube, but this will probably be your only chance to see them on a big screen with brilliant sound. Don’t miss Xavier Chassaing’s Scintillation, composed of thousands of still photographs that have been digitally manipulated.
The most popular part of the festival is undoubtedly the music video programme, which has been the breeding ground for some of the very best music video directors – some of whom have gone on to make feature films. Look out for new videos for Fleet Foxes and Simian Mobile Disco tracks.
In contrast to the all-out futurism of the festival, this programme explores hybrids of traditional craft and the latest CGI. There is a stunning stop-motion work done with construction paper, while other artists use computer technology to animate crochet.
The built environment is one of the most interesting and often overlooked applications of motion graphics technology. Expect to see strikingly realistic explorations of environments yet to be built, as well as fantastic dreamscapes that could only be conceived with the aid of computers.
There’s also an interactive music video lounge, where you can insert yourself into the music, a programme on fashion hosted by Dazed & Confused, a premiere of Pixar’s latest, Up, and plenty of industry networking and education. At best, these works will blaze new trails in video art and animation and keep you talking for weeks to come; at worst, they will be nothing more than weak pretexts for technological gimmicks. You may not like every entry, but it will certainly never be boring.