Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Someone spent months animating "This Is America" on an old-ass Macintosh

Illustration for article titled Someone spent months animating "This Is America" on an old-ass Macintosh
Photo: Paras Griffin (Getty Images)

Though Donald Glover just released two new Childish Gambino tracks this very morning, it’s unlikely that any music he puts out this year will eclipse “This Is America” and its dynamite music video, at least in reaction. While some have contented themselves with examining its imagery, others have replicated it wholesale. Most of these, it should be said, are very bad.

Now, though, we have one good “This Is America” tribute to point to: A painstakingly detailed animation being created on an ancient Macintosh desktop.


As detailed in an article by Vice’s Beckett Mufson, animator Pinot Ichwandardi has been working on his remake for months, using a byzantine, seemingly archaic process to translate the video into a cool, lo-fi pixel-art clip. The equipment involveda 1970’s Summagraphics Tablet connected to a 1984 Macintosh 128k’s MacPaint program,after which he transferred the frames by a floppy disk to a 1987 Macintosh SE.

While only 38 seconds have been completed so far, those seconds add up to “nearly 500 frames” and hours of outside research on the choreography behind Glover’s dance itself. Ichwandardi told Vice that he uses older technology for the work because its “[limitations become] a new value, new art.” He calls the process of animating the recreation this way “the story,” adding that “without those processes, the result is just another piece of pixel art, generated by modern machine.”


It’s impressive stuff that, unlike other recreations, seems to come from a desire to delve deeper into the video’s movements rather than just sort of approximate them with whatever tools are at hand. At his current pace, spending a few hours a night on the project, it’ll be quite a while until Ichwandardi completes the entire video (he might even release it as a GIF rather than a full, possibly copyright-infringing video of its own). Still, watching the progress is fascinating enough on its own.

The full Vice article has more details and Ichwandardi’s Twitter is worth keeping an eye on for anyone interested in learning more about the artist’s techniques and thoughts on the process. We only ask that you not steal this knowledge for use in nefarious purposes like, say, recreating the bad recreations of “This Is America” that already exist.


[via VICE]

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Contributor, The A.V. Club. Reid's a writer and editor who has appeared at GQ, Playboy, and Paste. He also co-created and writes for videogame sites Bullet Points Monthly and Digital Love Child.

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