Cornelia.

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Regina and I spent a lot of time creating the assets for this animation. We spent even longer animating in After Effects and editing the sound in Premiere. It was worth the time, though, because I think the final product is close to what we were aiming to do with this story.

 

Animation project: Cornelia.

Back in 2011, I worked on an oral history project aimed at collecting stories from individuals who had been displaced by Hurricane Sandy in New York. One of the people I interviewed, a Dutch woman named Cornelia, had been evacuated from her home in Long Beach before the storm hit. During my interview with Cornelia, she told some stories about working in Holland after WWII, living in Paris and meeting her Vietnamese American husband, moving to America, and finally the ordeal of being evacuated from her home.

For our animation project, Regina and I knew that we wanted to animate based on an existing audio interview. We both liked the idea of an elderly person telling a story about their youth – and I remembered my interview with Cornelia.

We plan to animate a story Cornelia told about how she met her husband in Paris and the pains he went through to convince her to marry him. Here is the storyboard we created for the final animation:

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Stop motion animation: Kawaii sushi.

tumblr_mduybmjHVq1qzqwamo1_500Sushi by Benjamin Ang (GIF by Nathan W. Pyle).

My parents are currently living in Tokyo, Japan. This past summer I took a trip to visit them and get a peek at what their life looks like. Knowing my parents and their proclivities for Japanese cuisine, the trip began with a comprehensive tour of Tsukiji Fish Market, the biggest wholesale fish and seafood market in the world. I tasted some of the best sushi I’ve ever tasted outside the market. I also was introduced to “kawaii culture” in the form of adorable sushi cartoons with button noses and big eyes.

Kawaii culture, or a love of all things cute and adorable, is a global phenomena that has its origins in Japanese teenage culture. Kawaii is an aesthetic style of making things as cute as possible – even household objects. According to one culture theorist, the “culturally odorless” characteristics of the kawaii movement have made it a global hit, resulting in Japan’s global image shifting from being known for austere rock gardens to being known for its “cute-worship.”

I was surrounded by these kawaii artifacts in Japan and I became interested in how the practice tends to anthropomorphize inanimate household objects such as food.

Example of a sushi animation from Lainey on Vimeo.

When we started discussing what types of materials we would like to include in our stop motion animation, my partner Regina and I decided we wanted to work with food. At first we thought about the different textures of candy and sugar, but finally we fell in love with the idea of using sushi ingredients in an animation in which the sushi “makes” itself.

We thought about the different “characters” that would be involved in the animation: raw salmon, raw octopus, raw tuna, rice balls, sesame seeds, avocados, etc. The characters will be ascribed with human characteristics. For instance, we imagined the octopus to be mischievous, the tuna flirty, and the rice balls authoritative.

Here’s our storyboard for the stop motion video:

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