incredible ulysses animation 07.07.2006, 7:07 AM
posted by ben vershbow
Alex Itin, our ever-astonishing resident artist/blogger, has been playing around with viral video outlets like YouTube, Google Video, Vimeo and MySpace, embedding movies on his site and re-mounting some of his older film projects, which were previously too cumbersome for quick-and-dirty webcasting.
The following (originally posted here) is a short animated riff on Joyce's Ulysses, in which actual pages from the book serve as frames, with figures painted over text. Joyce himself provides the vocal track. The drawings and sound apparently were not synched, which at times is hard to believe since they can be strikingly consonant.
Alex has been painting on books for years, exploring a kind of palimpsest style -- old, yellowed texts or roadmaps like the walls of a decaying city, against which sinewy, calligraphic figures move. Some of his mixed media works, like Odd City (re-mounted recently on the blog as an animated GIF) have involved the flipping of pages, which yields a crude filmic effect. "You Cities" works on a grander scale, opening up new dimensions on the 2-D page. You find yourself pulled into a visual stream of consciousness.
Michael on July 7, 2006 9:04 AM:
Just don't let Stephen James Joyce get wind ...
Bud Parr on July 7, 2006 11:42 AM:
The audio is from Finnegans Wake, not Ulysses. Still, the video is great.
ben vershbow on July 7, 2006 12:39 PM:
Yes, but the pages are definitely from Ulysses. Not sure why he used the vocal from Finnegans, though the effect is still wonderful. Alex, why did you choose this track?
ray on July 7, 2006 1:05 PM:
Many great scenes. I love the spliting in half of the man and woman, a nod to Plato's Symposium, perhaps. I know that you just finished, but I can't wait to see the next one!
Bud Parr on July 7, 2006 1:19 PM:
It is a wonderful effect. I love the video. I don't think there exists a recording of Joyce reading from Ulysses.
That clip is from the Anna Livia Plurabelle episode, which would make a great video project too.
That recording is, in my view, a great key to reading FW as it shows Joyce's sense of rhythm, which without, changes the book dramatically.
Interestingly, when he recorded it, he could barely see and someone (I think his friend Jolas) was standing next to him reading into his ear; amazing that he still managed to do it so well.
alex itin on July 13, 2006 3:34 PM:
I think the recording is the only, or one of very few recordings of Joyce reading - It's not an attempt to tell the story of Ulysees, but more to try and animate in a stream of consciousness style - when I tried the audio over the first hundred or two pages - How could I resist? I was so struck by how the rhythms worked together - I also used pages of "Portrait" to repair torn pages (very old paperback), or cover terrible mistakes (of which there were several) as one off my arbitrary rules was to draw through the book in order and use every page - then end the animation where I ran out of pages - I think of it as a Joycean palimpsest - so that's why the sound - and you bet its a nod to the Symposium (as is the moment where the man splits apart and has eight limbs)
Jarrett on January 1, 2009 5:57 AM:
Nice ... reminiscent of Peter Greenaway's Prospero's Books in the dance of writing and speaking.