A Cultural History of Tai Chi

Working with both Scott Phillips, and a fantastic group of student filmmakers at the Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design, was an enlightening experience. Teaching filmmaking techniques while negotiating the extensive combination of history, kinesthetics, art, dance, music, and religious ritual that Scott offered to this documentary, was one of the most challenging experiences of production I’ve had.

Scott’s book, “Possible Origins”,  further clarifies the ideas summarized in the video, and it’s a great way to get deeper into the compelling arguments he makes to recombine the histories of dance, fighting, religion, and art, that were separated through international war and cultural change.

Working with such a unique scholar, historian, and practitioner of martial arts was like a dream. Scott Phillips is a wealth of expansive and inter-connected ideas, sounds, and movements, all around the theme of reconnecting disparate cultural traditions. Having such a compelling subject actively making his own voice, image, and concepts available to our documentary production was a boon for a film production teacher and the students expecting a semester of repetitious curriculum.

Characteristically, the film is dense with meaning, metaphor, images, and sounds and it was a struggle to compress into it’s short length. You can feel the compression while watching as you’re compelled to re-watch the film to get a handle on the complex epiphanies. However, each repeat screening does reward a viewer with new understandings.

My crew, the video and sound production class in the RMCAD Animation Department, who are all credited at the end of the video, were the most engaged group of learner-makers I’ve had the pleasure to work with. Thanks to everyone involved.

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The A.M.I.O. at MIFFonEdge, July 2015

Walking to the Lab

If you’re in the Waterville, Maine area and want to take in some art, my new film, (take a breath first) “The Archive of the Movements of Inanimate Objects”,  is in the MIFFonEdge exhibition there for a week or so. I won’t be there because I’m teaching my best summer animation workshop to date, but please drop in to catch it’s first light. I’ve heard great things about this festival already from folks in the know.

The exhibition includes work by the artists Nancy Andrews, David Colagiovanni, Judith Larsen, Heddi Vaughan Siebel, and Stan VanDerBeek. I’m in great company and humbled. Should be a great show.

Watch the film online here

Here’s the link to the 2015 program: MIFFonEdge – Maine International Film Festival 2015

Just a week or so away from this postings date…

Hand and BulbPoem Stanzas

JCOS Animation Workshop

I was at the Jefferson County Open School this Spring to teach another animation workshop!

Possibly the best public school in the world. On entering the building each afternoon I was fed by the pervasive enthusiasm of every learner in the building. This is a community built on self-directed, whole child, experiential education.

My love affair with this community did not start here. I’ve had an “in” for 10 years chaperoning trips like “The Art and Culture of L.A.” and “The Independent Film Trip” to the Sundance Film Festival in Park City. But working in the building was a small dream of mine and it came true this March.

This fantastic group of students took their turn at the challenge of making a metamorphic exquisite corpse animation as a group on index cards and they drew almost 800 drawings in their spare time!

With the theme of “Hybrid Creatures” they each designed a hybridized character, like a “Pica-yogurt” (Picachu + yogurt) and a “Squain” (squid + brain) and spent their spare time drawing in-betweens on index cards to transform each creature into the next in an endless loop. This particular loop has some gaps, but those who finished get credit for being the most engaging young animators I’ve ever worked with.