Occasionally I like to write about animation that is as much art as anything else. Max Hattler describes his work Drift (2007) as experimental in its close-up view of model Cindy Tippett’s skin. I frankly don’t understand some of the explanations of the work in artistic terms though that is my failing not those of the explainers. I tried to decide what was photography, time lapse or otherwise and what animation. Such is the success of the piece that the line between them is blurred. Not so the scrutiny of the subject as skin in all its frank detail is revealed under a sharp lens. The camera drifts across the skin, arrayed as a planet viewed from space, the line of a single hair stark against the skin’s backdrop forming a gripping opening to the film. The skin is seen in different blue hues of startling beauty, a landscape with the sheen of dawn, a dulling towards dusk, an ocean. One notes the hair follicles that at once seem real and evidently animated. The subject is most times beautiful, particularly the patchwork of lines that criss-cross the surface like cerulean mudflats, baked and cracked under a hot sun; occasionally rather unpleasant, to my squeamish eyes at least, particularly the wrinkled hair that is definitely hair, not the artfully animated lines that sprout up from the surface. The success of the piece lies as much in its integration of the talents, with Maja Flink’s exquisite photography together with the music of Mark Bowden that is suitably light and ethereal. It makes for an engrossing three minutes or so. The link is to Max's site from where a high resolution download (20mb) repays the threat to bandwidth as it looks startlingly good in full screen mode. Max is definitely one of the most original, startling animators around with range of projects, commercial and high art.