An instructor at Parsons and the Rhode Island School of Design, Ted Wiggin is an animator who also has a knack for creating experimental animation software. His Heaven and Earth O-Matic randomly regenerates the lost five hours of Harry Everett Smith’s Heaven and Earth Magic (which would’ve been a perfect fit for our occulted closing pack at this year’s GIRAF fest if it weren’t an hour long). Fluxus Vox and Rose Engine are a granular synth and “nonobjective filmmaking” tool respectively. And his newest is Tinker Yonder, a tool that automatically fills the gaps between keyframes, along the lines of Peter Foldes’ Hunger in 1974, with an added dose of chaos (the transitions are apparently based on Conway’s Game of Life, which is an incredibly cool idea).
That might make it sound like Lo is a tech demo, but if that’s the case, it’s still a hypnotic one.The way that Lo spends more time transitioning between images than showing them turns its battle between a snake and a cat into something more impressionistic, never giving you more than a few flashes of the battle. The CRT glow and chunky lines recall old Amiga art, and the constant morphing between keyframes gives the whole thing an eerie feeling—more of a ghost of technology past than an exercise in nostalgia.
I’m curious how much of that is baked into the software and how much was a conscious decision for this particular film. Hopefully some other artists will tinker away—the software is free on Wiggin’s website—so we can find out.