Why is it that many live action filmmakers look down upon Animation as a lesser and an inferior medium?
As an individual who has explored several distinctive art forms, I would never state that one is greater or superior to the rest or to any other. To me, they are simply different from the others and hence unique in their own quality and means of expression. As one who has graduated from a famed School of the Arts in Film Directing (with Honors), never having studied animation, I still chose to devote my career and much of my life to its Art. In the beginning, I learned about it from my blond and sexy girlfriend of that time. She was into animation. Thus, for me, it was dictated by a desire to spend time animating her. But, as I learned from her, animation that is, I fell in love with the medium. So when she left after a few years of joy, but also learning and practicing techniques and potentials of animation, I continued investigating and practicing it magic, doing so rather successfully, winning awards at doing what I did not know how to do.
Ultimately, having indulged in all of its methodologies of brining impossible ideas to visual life, I resolved that animation lays infinite powers in the hands of its creator. Without reliance on costly crew, or anyone else, artist transforms into the God over the world of own imagination, invention and making. That world is unbound by reality, physical rules and the known status quo. Artist is free to envision and create life forms of own fantasy; free to decide whether gravity exists there, if time moves forward, backward or is still. It is an awesome Creator-like power that is often undervalued and unexplored. In the magical and metamorphic art of animation, artist’s imagination is truly the only limitation. Hence, let us open our minds, awake our dreams or secret wishes and lift off on the wings of imagination to explore new worlds and horizons. For if you can have such powers, why duplicate reality and all that has been done already.
Eventually I resolved that I have acquired enough knowledge, wisdom, insight and experience to mentor others in art of animation’s amazing, infinite and magical capabilities. I advanced even further by starting to design and launch academic programs dedicated to the study, explorations and practice of its mystical and magically enchanting wizardry. That’s not the end of it. Steadily, I realized how much I do not know.
So I begun to travel around the world, mentoring others, while learning from many of them. Reflecting on the meaning of life, I eventually resolved that what makes animation so powerful is not its technic but its ability as a conduit for visualization of even the most impossible, fantastical, amazing ideas, visions, feelings and stories. But at the core of all of them, the true generator of all ideation, innovation and invention is IMAGINATION. Without it we would still be swinging from the trees, chewing on bananas or, if lucky, hiding in the dark caves while blankly staring at those out of our reach little spark in the sky, exclaiming “oh” and “uh” and other such noises of linguistic incompetency and ignorance. Mind you, over time I have encountered many who seem to have elected to retain at all costs that bygone status.
And furthermore, looking at many animated films and shorts, being produced during my life, I can safely state that most simply imitate life actions abiding by the rules and limitation of reality around us, the status quo, without taking advantage of animation’s magical qualities or its unbounded promises. Sadly, and that is either a reflection on the evolution of our humanity, or its luck of imagination, the more realistic these life like productions are, the more successful and prosperous at the box office they stand.
Hold on, I have wandered off, drifted away from the theme of this blog, and this is only its initial episode. Shame on me. Where was I? Oh yes, enigmatic Cuba is my objective, yet imagination was the key to it.
As a success of the first program I initiated led to another, my horizons expanded. Eventually I found myself leading and launching programs exploring other creative media beyond animation, yet related to it in many ways. I soon realized that it is the synergies between various forms of creative expression that I find intriguing. So I took a leap, at some risk, agreeing to spearheaded launch of an entire School of Art, Design and Media, and do so within a technological University. I referred to it as a “Creative Asylum”, a place for experimentation and exploration of potential fusions between various creative forms of media, expression and practices. It proved to be a mind enlightening and invigorating experience. So I did not give it a thought when then invited to do so again, at a yet another academic institution, especially since the new project entailed shaping a School dedicated to exploring impact of Technology for the Arts.
Life is so fleeting, how can one not take on such challenges, when these are so very uncommon? I simply can not wait until, out of the blue, someone invites me to lead, or join, a launch of another new school. Perhaps, this time, such a school would be dedicated to inspiring and cultivation of the infinite powers of IMAGINATION, the mystical and vaporous essence or energy, maybe chemical reaction that is not limited to the arts but acts as the very origin, the genesis inspiring all unique ideation, invention and innovation. As such it would thrive on the very best of human virtues, inquisitiveness for the unknown and whatever may be next, and such an environment can only evolve through a fusion of all forms of human endeavor.
Today I go as far as asserting, doing so with confidence, that we are entering the “Digital Renaissance”. Thus the future belongs to amalgamation of arts, technology and sciences. In other words, it is not about one of them but about what happens in the mystically vague and undefined spaces in-between them all. This is where risks linger but transformative breakthroughs happen, where exciting possibilities await our discovery. All we need to do is to open our minds and dare. But that demands hungry IMAGINATION!
So, you may ask, what do all these ideological ravings have to do with Cuba? Well, that will come next.