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Monday, 20 April 2009

Stephen and Timothy Quay - AIDS Commercial (1996)










In preparation for a longer and more definitive study of the work of Stephen and Timothy Quay, over several posts, here is an Aids Commercial they made in 1996 warning of the dangers of infection. The piece has many of the features that make their work so distinctive. Their use of well used dolls for instance. The stills reveal the menace the figures possess given the use of lighting, loss of focus or oblique camera angles. (I find clowns also have that effect on me.) In its thirty seconds, the air of oppression is tangible: an opening close-up of the face, fingers desultorily playing with tablets, burning ash, a view under the bed, the culminating shot as the reclining doll looks towards the viewer beside his sleeping partner. Is the look one of guilt, fear, terror, paranoia? The soundtrack of Polish composer, Leszek Jankowski, much used by the brothers, is like scratching metal. If the urge was to frighten, as it clearly was, the commercial works powerfully on mind and imagination. Rarely have animators been so influential.

1 comment:

Liam Brazier said...

Without question, being introduced to these and Svankmajer whilst at university was a major contributing factor in spiking my interest in animation again. Endlessly aped, their style and technique (whilst borrowing heavily from Jan) is somehow eternally their own, forming part of the language that turned out to be this sort of stop-motion.

Looking forward to your future overviews of their work!