Animals

A Day for Cake and Accidents features a cast of animal characters — each of a different, though often indeterminate, species — who struggle with impending astrological despair and engage in absurdist dialogs, confessing various melancholic desires and transgressive secrets in poetic cartoon abjection.

A Day for Cake and Accidents is the third in a series of short collaborative animations.

Ant paths sketch a fading pheromonal portrait of a colony.

This title is only available on Soft Science.

 

Woman, monster, animal? A portrait of a woman's face, the movement slowed down and reversed, the grotesquely made-up face examined in close-up.

Animal Attraction is a documentary about the relationship between people and animals that questions the way we project our hopes and desires onto our pets, and ascribe human qualities and attributes to their gestures. The video was inspired by the plight of the filmmaker who was frustrated by the obnoxious behavior of her cat, Ernie. As a last resort, she gave in to a friend's suggestion to contact an animal communicator. This is her journey with interspecies telepathic communicator, Dawn Hayman, from Spring Farm CARES, an animal sanctuary in upstate New York.

"This is the first of a set of pieces that involve combining a series of electronic video process recordings, musics, texts and appropriated materials. These multiple elements, simple and tricky grammars, trigger expanding electronic narratives. The trajectories and drags of multiple narratives color the electronics and visa a versa.

"I just can't resist trying to empathize with animals and plants.  I think that in the process of attempting to learn what it's like to be an animal or plant, I learn more about what it means to be human."
--Sam Easterson

Filmed primarily in Alaska, The Aquarium contrasts the openness of the primeval Arctic landscape with the entrapment of captured sea mammals in aquariums. It speaks of the progressive destruction of these animals’ habitat, seeing beyond the alluring spectacle.

In Blood & Cinnamon Mott’s creatures discuss existential crises as they flip and rotate and disappear from view.

--F News Magazine, December, 2010

Note: This title is intended by the artist to be viewed in High Definition. While DVD format is available to enable accessibility, VDB recommends presentation on Blu-ray or HD digital file.

Burrow-Cams features footage from cameras that have been placed inside underground animal habitats (dens, burrows, etc.). Animals showcased include: burrowing owl, black-footed ferret, porcupine, badger, prairie vole, swift fox, deer mouse, and black tailed prairie dog.

Note: This title is intended by the artist to be viewed in High Definition. While DVD format is available to enable accessibility, VDB recommends presentation on Blu-ray or HD digital file.

"The Camel with Window Memory piece was made one weekend in the early '80's. I pulled out my post card collection and began to look at specific postcards run through the new digital video buffer I had built together with David Jones. The buffer had only one frame of memory but it was real time. It had the capability of displaying the image memory space, either as live or frozen.

In a world of Internet and high technology, there still remains something so arcane, so simple and extraordinary, so absolutely incredible as a circus of educated fleas. Marvel at Maria Fernanda Cardoso's work as the powerful Brutus (The Strongest Flea on Earth) pulls a locomotive that weighs 160,000 times his own weight. See the flea ballerinas dressed in micro-tutus, dance to the rhythms of Tango! Hold your breath as the highwire artists defy gravity on the tightrope and swing precariously on a miniature trapeze.

The Videofreex tape a group of young people working on a farm run by Chris Locke and his wife in Shandaken, NY.  After learning how to take care of the chickens, they are taught how to kill and pluck one.  Later they sit down for a communal dinner, and one of the group exclaims "Mmmmm, tastes good!"

 

The small cruelties of a subliminal fog roll in.  A pandemic thwarts intimacy. Perched from their little planets, this cast of wildly colorful creatures question their futures and navigate the longing for connection.

This is the fifth collaboration between Jessie Mott and Steve Reinke.

The fourth collaboration between Jessie Mott and Steve Reinke continues its melancholic musings on desire and mourning, this time with more twerking. Hypnotic backgrounds and eccentric animals lend to its psychedelic children's cartoon vibe, and the signature Madonna and Stockhausen soundtrack enhances the desperation for paradise among those extra long tongues and snake-y bodies.

Elegy, 1991

It’s the first day of autumn, and Gibbons can already smell death in the air. Leading us and his dog Woody on a walk through a cemetery, Gibbons voices his obsessive thoughts of death and destruction saying, “I want to be a leaf; I want to fall from a great height and crush whatever I land on.” Waxing weirdly philosophical, Gibbons satirically tries to impress the concept of mortality on his dog; the video, shot in Pixelvision, approximates his dog’s black-and-white vision.

Everybody, 2009

Animals debate the sticky subject of body dysmorphia and the merits of reconstructive surgery in this short animation.  

"Jessie Mott wrote the script for this, recorded the voices and made the drawings.  I constructed the soundtrack and animated her drawings."
--Steve Reinke

A two-part study of the self-sustaining lifestyle of a communal farm in Vermont. 

The windy adventures of a dog in a sea of grass beneath blue skies.

Grand Mal, 1981

"Oursler’s thematic concerns betray classic Freudian anxieties about sex and death. In Grand Mal, the hero takes a convoluted odyssey through a landscape of disturbing experiences. The video’s free association includes, "digressions about the difference between salt and sugar and a version of the creation myth that is both banal and terrifying."

— Christine Tamblyn, “Art Notes,” Scan (November/December 1981)

Set between Swaziland and South Africa, in a region still struggling with the divisions produced by an apartheid government, Greetings to the Ancestors documents the dream lives of the territory’s inhabitants as the borders of consciousness dissolve and expand. Equal parts documentary, ethnography and dream cinema, herein is a world whose borders are constantly dematerializing.

A Hand in Two Ways (Fisted) is a looping meditation on night as space of mysterious energetic transmissions. Animals, human bodies, children, ritual, and performance are investigated as zones of conflict, desire, and a visceral movement that is more felt than seen.

“A soldier’s trip to Syria is complicated when he accidentally impregnates a friend. Meanwhile, a horse breeder from Ohio is driven away from home by her own desire to become pregnant. In Hard as Opal the lines between truth and fiction, fact and fantasy, are reined in and treated not as fixed, divisive markers but as malleable threads of narrative potential. Buckhiester and Leventhal perform alongside other non-actors who are filmed in their own varying domestic and professional environments.

"By way of lush formal and associative shifts, Hearts Are Trump Again evokes the ever-present tension between seemingly polarized states of experience. Desire and repulsion; freedom and constraint; pain and pleasure all find articulation in images of ferocious dogs and mock conversations about childbearing. Tonally complex and viscerally rich, Hearts Are Trump Again is a lyrical exploration of emotional weather."

— Brett Price

"Here is Everything presents itself as a message from The Future, as narrated by a cat and a rabbit, spirit guides who explain that they've decided to speak to us via a contemporary art video because they understand this to be our highest form of communication. Their cheeky introduction, however, belies the complex set of ideas that fill the remainder of the film. Death, God, and attaining and maintaining a state of Grace are among the thematic strokes winding their way through the piece, rapturously illustrated with animation, still and video imagery." 

Horsey, 2018

An allegory recycling images from the past, still relevant to the present moment.

“Horses are lucky, they’re stuck with the war same as us, but nobody expects them to be in favor of it, to pretend to believe in it.”

— Louis-Ferdinand Céline, Journey to the End of the Night, 1932