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The Animation Pimp: Gold Star for Robot Boy

Sitting through David OReilly’s digital punk animations feels a wee bit like the non-stop hallucinations of your last journey on mushrooms.

How come I am a participant in this huge enterprise known as Reality? Why should I be a participant? Is there no choice in the matter? And if there is no choice, then where is the manager? Then to whom shall I address my complaint?

                                    Soren Kierkegaard, Repetition

Sitting through any or all of David OReilly’s digital punk animations feels a wee bit like when you took mushrooms. Anyone who has experienced that journey knows that feeling of non-stop hallucinations, often so subtle, so seemingly real, that you think the effects have worn off and you’ve returned home safely only to then realize that Ester Williams is dancing on the label of the bathroom cleaner that you’re inexplicably holding in your hand and that you’ve been watching a reflection of an Igor Kovalyov film on a marble floor. That’s when it all starts to get to you, when you try to reach inside your brain to find the switch only to come up with a fistful of hair. An abandoned stumbler loosely adrift a series of tectonic mind plates that gleefully pushes and pulls you through shifting subconscious scapes. You laugh, cry, and shake your head maybe even howl momentarily. Finally, you just say, ‘”fuck it” and shrug. Why fight the inevitable? A deep breath before you relent, buy the ticket and take the ride. The mind soon decelerates, the heart eases. Tears dry. A slight smile, an accidental snort. Finally, you laugh. Then you laugh some more until you find yourself on the streets of Vienna. You just left a screening of OReilly’s films in some wanker museum. WHACK! Something hits your head. You bend down to see a yellow Frisbee. “Friend” shouts a voice from the faux Irish pub. Confused you follow the voice into the bar. Once inside you forget why you’re there. Might as well grab a beer. Across the table sits a father and his teenage son. “The key to a happy life,” says the father, “is the ability to accept the absurdity of your existence without any bitterness.” Pretty insightful advice, but unfortunately, the kid missed most of it. He was under the spell of the omnipresent glow of his mobile device. You thought maybe the dad would smack him in the back of the head, but he just sighed and took a sip of beer. You heard the father’s words though. He was right. If THIS is it, if there’s nothing more to follow, well shit, that’s kinda terrifying isn’t it? Why bother with any of it?  You “bother” because, why not? There’s nothing to lose so you might as well strap yourself in – or don’t - and enjoy the ride. Liberation. No more pressure. No more races. No more self-help books. It makes THIS a whole lot like a game. Sure, you only get one lifeline but you also have all the freedom to think, dream, create and BE anyway you want. You can keep reinventing yourself as you go along. You need to pee. WHACK! Something hits your head. “What the fuck?” A red Frisbee. “Prejatelj” a female voice whispers from somewhere you don’t see. Annoyed you hit the men’s room and cozy up to the middle urinal.  On the right is little person. He struggles to lift his dick over the urinal. The guy to your left looks like Bill Murray in that Cousteau film. He keeps flicking a lighter with one hand while choreographing his dick with the other. He catches me looking. He moves in your direction, each step in sync with the click of the lighter until his mouth meets your ear: “I know well what I am fleeing from but not what I am in search of,” he whispers. “Fantastic,” you say, zipping up “I know where I’ll be fleeing too.” As you walk back to your seat you notice the father and son. The son is gently rocking the crying father in his arms, faintly singing, “It's not time to make a change, just relax, take it easy. You're still young, that's your fault. There's so much you have to know.” You return to your seat and find a mouse sitting on the table. She hands you a book, adjusts her scarf and scampers off. You look at the book: The Present Age by Søren Kierkegaard. You open the book. Words fly out.


crucial            thing

is                 to        find


truth              which is truth for me,

to find the idea

for which I am


to live

and die.”

That’s a lie. These aren’t from that book. You finish your beer and walk out onto a Montreal street. Snow falls down berserk. You shiver along the snow trashed path past giant cats screaming for their parents, skeleton babies hurrahing you from branches, frog babies smoke fucking as Busby Berkeley shouts directions through a muted megaphone. Nothing makes a lot of sense and no one seems to give a shit about anything or anyone.  Ghosts strolling along uncommitted oblivious unmoved and overwhelmed through harsh soulless bizarre and sardonic dreamscapes teetering between dream death life and game. A landscape of exploding browser windows raping our senses with a cacophony of anarchic images and sounds that saturates us until we shut down, unable to gauge reality from shadow, distracting us from those still-out- there moments of compassion, empathy, engagement and humanity.

Chris Robinson's picture

A well-known figure in the world of independent animation, writer, author & curator Chris Robinson is the Artistic Director of the Ottawa International Animation Festival.