28th January 2013
Atlantis by Christine Ödlund
Animate Projects and RSA Arts & Ecology
Atlantis is a hand-drawn animation (Thersa, 2013) which plays on the mythical underwater city of Atlantis. The one minute and fifty four second piece of animation was created by Chistine Ödlund (Animate Projects, 2013) whom is a Swedish artist that works with a range of practices from drawings to sculpture to animate.
It was part of a commission that included a number of short films (Animate Projects Doc, 2013) that were created by seven international artists from the UK, USA, Switzerland, Austria, Sweden and Korea, Christine Ödlund, Jordon Baseman, Phil Coy, Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries, Elodie Pong, Manu Luksch and Simon Woolham. The films were commissions by Animate Projects and RSA Arts & Ecology to explore ecological themes and the impact on the environment in the twenty first century due to climate change, rising food and oil prices, green issues, political agenda, increase of global conscience and the impact that human have on the earth’s landscape. The series of films (Thersa 2013) were launched at the BFI Southbank in London on the 4th November before touring (Animate Projects Doc, 2013) Cambridge, Dundee, Newcastle, Glasgow and Norwich.
Christine Ödlund’s animation (Animate Projects, 2013) shows that the effects of global warming has cause man to seek refuge under water due to the earth being covered in mould and fungi cause by global warming and extreme weather conditions that force man to take shelter under the sea surface. Ödlund’s silent, ominous and subaqueous world (Moderna Museet, 2013), consists of plant life and submerged architecture. A civilisation that only consists of a few survivors incarcerated in laboratories and bunkers deep beneath the ocean’s surface. The sense of the aftermath of a disaster reminds the audience of the current environmental threats, but also surealise worlds and science fiction.
Ödlund’s film is hand-drawn using pencils and shading and has electronic sound. The animation begins with an image of the surface with mould and fungi covering the ground and a blacken sky. Lightning is shown flashing every few second accompanied by the sound of thunder and wind. A tornedo travel across the screen before the camera pans down revealing more of the fungi. The image then fades to another which shows more of the surface as the camera moves right, revealing tall long fungi, large mushrooms and oddly shaped structures. The screen then fades again presenting a new image of a beach and crumbling cliff face. The sound has also change from roaring of the wind to the crashing of the sea. A wave comes rolling in towards the beach getting larger as it does. The view travels along the cliff face until it reaches an elevator. The elevator then dives down, after the camera view as entered, below the surface blocking out the sound of chaos on the surface. When the elevator doors open the oceans under world is shown. A first all that is seen is coral but as the camera travels forwards the coral parts revealing an underwater city. The city does not become clear until one minute and twenty seven seconds into the film. As this happens a futuristic submarine drifts along towards the left. The sound is of bubbles and a soft motor engine; a contrast to the noise on the earth’s surface.
The monochrome images make the audience investigate the footage more closely as to distinguish the details of the elements and objects within the animation. The lack of colour could link to the misery and hopelessness of the situation as well as help towards that post – apocalypse feel that the film portrays; a sense (Moderna Museet, 2013) of the aftermath of a disaster that reminds and cautions what could very well happen if the current environmental threats go unchanged.
This piece has presented that an animation does not have to be overly complicated or overly ‘flashy’ to be successful or as creative. That it can be dome using the most basic of equipment, materials and effects and the result will be just as good, perhaps even better judging on the thought process and ideas behind it. Atlantis portrays a complex issue of climate change and the possible future it might bring in a way that doesn’t over whelm the audience. The simplicity of the animation and the sound complement one another effectively giving a sense that it is a recorded video.
Animate Projects (2013). Atlantis. [Online]. Available from: http://www.animateprojects.org/films/by_date/films_2008/atlantis [26th January 2013]
Animate Projects (2013). Christine Ödlund. [Online]. Available from: http://www.animateprojects.org/films/by_artist/o/christine_a_dlund [26th January 2013]
Animate Projects (2013). Animate Projects and RSA Arts & Ecology presents Stop. Watch.. [Online]. Available from: http://www.animateprojects.org/docs/1274973294222_stop_watch_pr_tst123_0.pdf [28th January 2013]
Thersa (2013). Stop & Watch as Climate Change Comes to the BFI. [Online]. Available from: http://www.thersa.org/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/136085/StopWatch-press-notice.pdf [28 th January 2013]
Moderna Museet (2013). Mini Cinema – Films from the Collection. [Online]. Available from: http://www.modernamuseet.se/en/Stockholm/Newslist/Mini-cinema—films-from-the-collection1/ [28th January 2013]