On Friday 20th November, we were lucky enough to receive a talk by Joseph Wallace, a film and theatre director who specialises in animation and puppet design. Wallace is interested in the aesthetic language of storytelling. His influences include pieces such as The Hand and Alice but stretch to artists such as Magritte and Cartier Bresson, he was also blown away by the use of puppetry in War Horse.
He found his love of theatre from a young age, being part of a children’s drama group that put on plays. When he got to old to play in the plays he became part of the crew, working with the children. This led on to him doing his Foundation and then his BA.
At the point he showed us some videos, the first of which is called Curiouser and Curiouser. Curiouser and Curiouser is about a cat who explores every little loop and nook and cranny in the city and accidentally gets themself trapped in a cage. This short animation was only 90 seconds long but uses tone, movement, light and focus to create effect.
Afterwards he showed us his degree show piece, The Man who was afraid of Falling. The animation tells the emotive story of an old man living alone who must continually move house from a tall flat block to a bungalow because of his fear of falling, at the end of the animation he actually ends up falling over and becomes happier knowing he is okay. Wallace explained his use of a simple set and materials: the whole set was made from recycled cardboard. The mental journey of the man is shown through the colour scheme, from dark tones right up to happy light tones reflecting the old man’s feelings.
Last year, Wallace joined Caravel Collective in Montpellier as part of Animation Sans Frontiers. This is where he created La Vue and also The Doctor’s Tale. La Vue was a 20 second film showing a blind man’s interpretation of the day if he was lucky enough to see it. The Doctor’s Tale is a 60 second film in 2 days, showing an angry doctor who receives a rejection letter and rampages around the town. This mixed both reality and drawings within this reality.
The last two videos we looked at were Natural Disaster and La Fôret Sauvage. Natural Distaster was an animation created with cut ups out of a magazine. It was shot using layers of glass to get the full 3d effect and used voices from actors for the UK. Natural Disaster is the story of Mark who comes home one day to find another man in his house with his girlfriend. The animation depicts his journey after this.
La Fôret Sauvage is about an angry landlord who wants his rent of a farmer. It is a live action puppetry using recycled materials manure. Wallace wanted to highlight materiality and also the organic within this piece of work.
Overall this was one of my favourite talks so far. Even though I do not do animation I really appreciated the more art and design aspect that went into creating. It was also inspiring to see someone who had not been graduated that long be successful in his field. I loved the animations, especially The Man Who Was Afraid Of Falling as it was such an emotive piece!