Hand-drawn short film seeks to bridge the arts and sciences.
New York-based animator and filmmaker Xiangjun Shi likes to draw, and she likes physics.
For her graduation project, the Rhode Island School of Design alum, who calls herself Shixie, created Why Do I Study Physics? A Science Communication Project at Brown University Department of Physics, the short film is a charming, hand-drawn exploration of the beauty found in both the orderly world of physics and the chaos of real life.
“When I left home for college in the U.S., I was fortunate to be selected for the very first class of a new Dual Degree program, presented by Brown University and Rhode Island School of Design,” Shixie writes on her website. “Without predecessors, and in trusting embrace of Brown's open curriculum, I was pretty much able to design my own education. While it may be too early to discuss the effect of that autonomy, in the past five years in this program I have had chance to focus on a consistent pursuit -- to bridge the arts and science. I chose to major in Physics at Brown and animation in RISD. With graduation, and the arrival of new responsibilities, e.g. having to make a living on my own in the crazy New York City, I have to put a temporary hold to this pursuit. And this animation, a year-long effort of making, is an attempt to reflect on this ever-intriguing subject.”
A versatile artist adept at using a variety of animation techniques, Shixie’s work has been featured in local and international film festivals, and past clients have included Google, Daptone Records, Adult Swim, PBS, CNBC, and Sundance. Why Do I Study Physics? has been shown at France’s Très Court, Switzerland’s CinéGlobe -- where it received the Special Jury Prize -- ASIFA-East and Tricky Women 2014, among others. It will also be seen by audiences at this year’s Annecy International Animation Film Festival, which runs June 9-14.
Jennifer Wolfe is Director of News & Content at Animation World Network.