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The Animation Pimp Part 2: Pierre Hébert and the Work of Animation in the Age of Digital Reproduction

The Pimp continues with his theories on projectionists and offers some solutions to their tyrannical control over presenting an artists work.

Illustration by Andreas Hykade. Courtesy of Chris Robinson.

Part 2: PierreHébertandtheWorkofAnimation intheAge ofDigitalReproduction

WHEN I FIRSTTHOUGHTOFTHISMODESTPROPOSALTOELIMINATEFILMPROJE

CTIONISTSAFEWYEARSBACK, ITWASFORTHEMOSTPART,AJOKE.I WASTAKING AMILDPOKEATTHOSEANIMATORSWHO-HAVINGFAILED TOREAD

WALTERBENJAMINWHILESTANDINGINLINETOBUYANASIFAMEMBERSHIP -WERECAUGHT UPINTHATSTALEBELIEF OFTHEARTIST ASGODANDART

ASSOMEPRECIOUSTHING. WELLSORRY TODISAPPOINTYOUFOLKS,BUTYOUAIN'TASPRECIOUSASYOUTHINK,ESPECIALLYWITHOUTTHETECHNOLO

GYNEEDED TOMAKEYOUSACREDCARTOONIES.ANDIFYOUWEREAGODDAMNEDGODYOU'DHAVENOPROBLEMBEINGEVERWHERE ATONCE.AS

SUCH,PROJECTINGYOUROWNGODDAMNEDWORKWOULDNTPOSEMUCH OFAPROBLEM.

THISBRINGSMEBACKTOPIERREHÉBERT,THEMAN

WHOINDIRECTLYMOTIVATED MYPROPOSAL.SINCE THEEARLY1980S,HÉBERTHASBEENDOINGSCRA TCHANIMATIONPERFORMANCES.SOMETIMES,

HÉBERTPERFORMEDSOLO,BUTOFTEN HEWORKEDWITHMUSCIANS.BYTHEMID1980S,PERFORMANCE ELEMENTSBEGAN TOAPPEAR INHISFILMS(LA METRO, O

PICASSO) ANDIN1988HÉBERTMADELETTREDAMOUR, AFILMVERSION OFAMULTI-MEDIAPERFORMANCE.

IN1999,HÉBERT LEFTTHENATI

ONALFILMBOARD OFCANADAAFTERBEINGTHERE FOROVERTHREEDECADESAS ANANIMATORAND PRODUCER.SINCETHATTIMEHE'SCONCENTRATEDALMOST

EXCLUSIVELYONTHEPERFORMANCEASPECT OFHIS WORK.THROUGHOUTTHELASTTWOYEARS,HÉBERT HASTOUREDHISSCRATCHANIMATION

PERFORMANCESAROUNDTHEWORLD.THEPERFORMANCE GENERALLYINVOLVEDLIVESCRATCHANIMATION WITHAMUSICALCOLLABORATOR.EACH

PERFORMANCEWASUNIQUEANDCONTAINEDALEVEL OFENERGYNOTOFTENFOUND ATAFILMSCREENING.THE RESULTSWEREMIXED (INSERT

MILDGRUNTANDCASUALSHRUG OFTHESHOULDERHERE).

NOGRUNTSHOWEVER FORHÉBERT'SLASTPERFORMANCEPIECE(WITH AVANTGARDE

MUSICIANBOBOSTERTAG)BETWEENGARBAGEAND SCIENCE.FORTHISHOURLONGPERFORMANCEABOUT THEDISPOSABILITYOFCULTURE,OSTERTAGISEQUIP

PEDWITHAMACPOWERBOOK. ONITARE AWIDEARRAY OFSOUNDSCAPE SAMPLESTHATOSTERTAGCANMANIPULATETHROUGH APROGRAMCALLEDMAX.

HISLAPTOP ISCONNECTED TOHÉBERT'SPOWERBOOKWHICH HASABOUT FIFTYIMAGESSTOREDALONGWITHAFEW QUICKTIMEMOVIES(PRIMARIL

YNEWSFOOTAGE).LIKEOSTERTAG,HÉBERTCAN MANIPULATETHEPACE,TEXTUREANDSEQUENCING OFHISMATERIAL.THISMEANS,FOREXAMPLE,THAT HE IS

NOTREQUIREDTOPRESENTIMAGES AT24FRAMES PERSECOND.BESIDE THECOMPUTERHÉBERT HAS ADIGITALVIDEOCAMERAAFFIXED TOTHETOP OF A

PORTABLEHOMEMADEANIMATIONSTANDWITHA DIGITALVIDEOCAMERAAFFIXED TOTHETOP.THE CAMERA ISCONNECTED TOHÉBERT'SCOMPUTERSO

THATHECANMAKEANDINCORPORATELIVEANIMATION WITHTHEARCHIVEDMATERIAL.

THEMOSTASTONISHINGASPECT OFTHEPERFORMANCE,FOROUR

PURPOSES,ISTHATNOPROJECTIONISTISREQUIRED. INFACTTHEARTISTCREATESANDPROJECTSTHE IMAGESSIMULTANEOUSLY.WHILE NOTALLFILMS

WILLBEIMPROVISED ITISCERTAINTHATWITHIN ADECADEWECOULD BESEEINGFESTIVAL COMPETITIONSPRESENTED INTHESAMEMANNER. FUTURE

COMPETITORSCANTAKEASEAT,OPENUPTHEIRLAPTOPS ANDPERFORM.

HURRAY!HURRAY, ISAY.THEDAYSOFLUMBERINGTECHNOLOGICAL PROC

ESSESAREOVER.NOMOREPROJECTIONISTS(IWILL MISSTHEM)! NOMOREAPESHOWS (IWON'TMISS THEM).NOMORE24FRAMESPERSECOND!

HÉBERT'S

PERFORMANCEASKSUS TORECONSIDER THEWAYWE CREATE,PRESENTANDEXPERIENCEANIMATION. THERE ISNOTHINGREVOLUTIONARYINTHIS.MUSIC HAS

BEENDOING ITFORYEARS.HOLLYWOODHASALREADYMADEA DIGITALFEATUREFILM.BUTINTERMS OF INDEPENDENTANIMATION,WHATHÉBERT IS

DOING ISUNFORTUNATELYQUITERADICAL.ISAY 'UNFORTUNATELY'BECAUSETHESETECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTSCOULDHAVEBEENEMBRACED 

EARLIER.

ASIFAISPARTLY TOBLAME.THEYWEREFOUNDEDTOPROTECTAND PROMOTEARTISTICANIMATION,BUTINSTEAD CREATED AMONSTER.ASIFA

QUICKLYBECAMEANINSULARGROUP OFINDIVIDUALSWHO,NAMELESSANDNEGLECTED, FORMEDTHEIROWNOLYMPUSWHERETHEYCOULD BEGODS.IN

THEMEANTIMETHEWORLDMOVED ON:THEPOLITICAL,SOCIALANDCULTURALLANDSCAPES SHIFTED ASTECHNOLOGICALDEVELOPMENTS EMERGED.BYTHE

1990S,ASIFAHADGONE,LARGELYUNAWARES,FROM OLYMPIANGODSTOCASTAWAYS ONGILLIGAN'SISLAND.

IT'STIMETOGETOFFTHEISLAND.

HottieAnimator oftheMonth

JanieGeiserhasbeenmakingsome beautifulcontemplative,nourishingcut-out/stop-motion filmsthathavebeenstrangelyabsentfrom animation  

festivals.

Chris Robinson is a writer, festival director, programmer, junky and has been call ed the John Woo of diplomacy. His hobbies include horseback

riding, pudpulling, canoeingand goat thumping.

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