Anyone who’s ever attempted to make a stop-motion video can tell you that unless you’re really excited about it, the effort usually outweighs the result. (Just ask Parks And Recreation’s Ben Wyatt.) It’s painstaking, time-consuming work, and those who dedicate the weeks or months (or years, in the case of feature films) of their lives necessary to the task should be commended for their work ethic or insanity, whichever seems more plausible. And now a new video, by Nathan Johnson, makes the case that with nothing more than some push pins and rubberized thread, a stop-motion video can be powerfully hypnotic.
We’ve featured Johnson’s projects before—the last time was for an unsettling music video starring Tatiana Maslany—and this new work finds him again collaborating with the band Son Lux, for their song, “Change Is Everything.” The undulating start-stop rhythms of the electronic score are set to the fluid transitions of the animation, which goes from abstract shapes to concrete scenes and back again, as the music ebbs and flows. As Johnson explains, “It’s all old-school, handmade animation–basically 200 push pins, 500 feet of rubberized thread and about 3,000 photographs. Really simple concept. Really dumb of us to attempt.” Maybe, but his stupidity is our gain. Johnson will be screening the video at SXSW this year, on Monday March 14, at 11 a.m. at the Alamo Ritz. If you’re interested, there’s also a making-of clip showing how such simple materials led to such an impressive outcome.