Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Ann Xiao "Waking Up Inside the Fish"

Ann Xiao's marine life wonder "Waking Up Inside the Fish" was commissioned by Mesh, Channel 4 in 2006 and reminds me of one of those rather snazzy tropical fish tanks used as screensavers. The difference is that there is a story here. Inside the fish are lots of tiny women with what I take for gills and webbed backs. They seem to have a relaxed life amidst all that colour and blue sea. Of course when one glimpses another life, another only marginally larger girl emerging from her boat in diving gear, the temptation to change lifestyle becomes too great for one particular girl-fish. The 3 minute movie was written and directed by Ann and animated by Richard Ellison, Mari Umemura and Montakarn Kawkome. I found this an absorbing and fascinating movie that made me think as well as admire the work. The multi-coloured reef may be beautiful but it also has dangers. The script has an allegorical power. Anne graduated from the University of Arts London, although she completed her initial studies in Beijing. She has a very full biography on her website and seems, not surprisingly given her talent, to have plenty of commissions. You can download her animations from her website - I particularly enjoyed her "Letter from Somewhere" commissioned by the Korean musician Jin by Jin, a 2D/3D collaboration with Gabriel J Garcia. This has moments in it reminiscent of that new and entrancing commercial for Ford's Mondeo with the old cars floating into the sky on balloons as their owners realise the beauty of the Ford motor; it also has a link at the end to "Waking Up Inside the Fish". Do visit Ann's site at: She is, I promise, a future star. Her work is a nice place to begin after my short vacation.

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