Creative Time Presents: Three Emerging Artists

Creative Time

From June 15–July 15 2010, Creative Time presented one video each by emerging artists Rob Carter, Graeme Patterson, and Allison Schulnik. The artists freshly mined the possibilities of stop-motion animation, which has been used in filmmaking for over a century. By constructing detailed microcosms of paper and clay, the artists in this series transported us into the kinetic worlds of a city experiencing exponential growth, a discrete memory of youthful contention, and a strange, alien planet. Simultaneously, the analog—and extremely time- and labor-intensive—process by which these worlds are rendered came into stark contrast with the overwhelmingly digital landscape of Times Square.

Made entirely from photographic images printed on paper, Rob Carter’s Metropolis (2008) was an abridged narrative history of the city of Charlotte, NC, one of the fastest growing cities in the country. It used stop-motion video animation to physically manipulate aerial still images of the city (both real and fictional), creating a landscape in constant motion. The four-minute excerpt of video shown At 44 ½ depicts the city’s economic and architectural boom of the past 20 years, before extrapolating into the future. The final images reminded us as of our civilization’s paper-thin existence, no matter how many monuments of steel, glass, and concrete we build. Set within the heart of another metropolis—New York—the animation asked us to consider the evolution, and eventual decay, of the sky-scraping hubris that surrounds us. Graeme Patterson’s Grudge Match (2009) was an elegantly simple and self-contained drama based on a memory from the artist’s early years, imbued with a subtle aura of fantasy and surrealism. Throughout the course of a single wrestling match, two miniature figures engaged in a struggle that is simultaneously competitive and playful, a surprising amount of emotion visible in their Lilliputian postures, embraces, and headlocks. Rendered at 1/10 human scale, and then blown up to fill the monumental MTV screen, the video conflated a small, private moment—the bleachers in Patterson’s gymnasium are oddly empty—and the larger-than-life, public arena of Times Square. Forest (2009) followed Allison Schulnik’s hobo-clown protagonist, Long Hair Hobo, as he explores an unfamiliar, forested world, where he encounters an alternate-reality version of himself. Schulnik created the sets from material collected from the railroad tracks and woods near her studio, and imbued her characters with life by carefully sculpting their clay bodies one frame at a time. The trippy animation was used as the music video for the track “Ready, Able” by the Brooklyn-based band Grizzly Bear. With the video’s presentation on the MTV screen, Long Hair Hobo peered with deep, expressive eyes out into the dense multitude of Times Square before beginning his strange journey.