Stanzas

Form merges with content as the path of a rigidly thinking man is tracked abstractly. At first, the words and structures of the material world constrict him, placing his thoughts and actions within boxes of his own creation. Slowly but surely, he begins to orchestrate an escape, allowing more diversity into his life. He eventually breaks completely free, allowing his experiences to bend and fold into one another, informing his interpretation of the world around him, and thus examining his experiences in a more fluid, connective manner. Based on a poem by Aldous Huxley.

Director’s Statement

The poem is about getting out of the prison of our minds and thoughts. I love the title Stanzas – the poem actually consists of three stanzas, but I also under stand “stanzas” as different stages in life. I treated each of the three stanzas of the poem as three separate parts, each of which would have its own unique visual style and language. The first stanza is rigid, structured, fragmented, and “in square.” It represents being locked inside one’s own mind. In our minds we create all of the structures that do not exist in nature. In the second stanza, I gradually introduced more organic elements and more color to signify the author slowly realizing that there is a whole new reality beyond thoughts. The third stanza represents the state of being free of one’s mind, as in the state of nirvana. It was a challenge for me to approach this last part. I did everything leading up to it on computer, but at this point I felt restrained by 2D. After a few tests and experimentations, I decided to work on-camera, mixing acrylic paint with milk and soap which resulted in very interesting visuals. I found that it was the best way to communicate the fluidity and “oneness” of this final state of mind that Huxley wrote about. I was happy that the visuals I created with plaint resembled both the microscopic and macroscopic world – some look like bacteria and the larger universe at the same time, conveying the idea that the whole universe is made out of the same matter, and we are all part of one greater whole. It was a blast working on this project. Having the voice over actor’s recitation of a poem and a beautiful music composition already created, I felt that I could go “wild” with the visuals and really explore and push the idea of animated poetry. We’ve seen a lot of narrative animations with traditional storylines; in my mind, Campfire Poetry Cinema is truly unique and shows that animation is capable of doing much more than that. Visualizing complex concepts has always been one of my main interests, and here I was able to channel that directly into my approach.