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Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Maria Leite & Daniel Herthel "Casa De Máquinas" (Power House)








I have read reviews of Casa De Máquinas that I don't understand, other than it is to do with the interconnectivity of parts of a machine, generating movement that creates synchrony. That's cleared it up! Named Power House in English I rather prefer the term, House of Machines, that my translator offers. The five minute movie is a combination of the work of Maria Leite, a puppeteer with a degree in industrial design and Daniel Herthel, sculptor, designer and animator. Commencing with the turning of a key, one sees a brightly lit interior of a machine, to a persistent melodic and percussive soundtrack by Daniel Potter. Revealed are the mechanisms, cogs and wheels, made out of light wood, connected to pulleys and twine bobbins. The conclusion focuses on the shadowed movement of a jointed puppet. The movie has two attractions. First it is hypnotic and a visual experience all of its own; secondly it gets the brain going - how did they do that? Frankly I've had all on not to take out the glue, Stanley knife and balsa wood and rig up my camera. Balls of wood roll down and land onto flat surfaces before sinking into the surface effortlessly - a tribute to the skill of the constructors and animators . The movie should be viewed in conjunction with Making of Casa de Máquinas. This is not simply a how we did it piece. It is a movie in its own right, as the hours progress denoted in changes of dress or partly consumed meals. The construction of set and props seen through time sequenced camera work possesses, of course, an interest all of its own. One comprehends the scale of the enterprise. There are nice touches here: the animated sequences as pieces come alive, the puppet moving of its own accord in the hands of the constructors. Nice to read that the project was funded by the British Council and Arts Council of England.

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