New Project Series

February 28th, 2005 · 2 Comments · Writing

We’re beginning work on a new project, continuing a series that started with our recent animation The Grasp Hand and Walking Method. The genesis of the work began several years ago when we interviewed my grandfather, a Marine who landed on Iwo Jima, about his war years. My grandfather is a storyteller, and had already distilled his experiences into encapsulated stories that work as abstractions that illustrate complex, and universal, emotional moments, and which simultaneously work together when synthesized as a chronological, personal narrative.

The entire narrative of his 36 days on the island comprised a 4-hour, taped interview. We were fascinated by the narrative capsules, the moments which, when separated from the whole story, took on an eery, abstract picture of any war-time experience, or any similar situation when life is keyed up to the highest intensity and interpersonal relationships become both absurdly surreal and more intimate than others that are formed on the basis of many years of the mundane.

For the series, we are using costumed figures as archetypes, almost as Jungian sandplay characters. Though the character’s interaction with the set and with one other, the abstract accounting of one person’s war-time experience is revealed through metaphorical action — in the case of The Grasp Hand and Walking Method, through a communal lifting of the fallen central character — and through the text itself.

The series will continue with these narrative abstractions and the central figures, some moments expounded into short stop-frame animations, and others left simply as suggestions, captured in single-frame, stand-alone photos. We’ll post our process as the work progresses.

Category: Writing

2 Comments so far ↓

  • Micah

    They just celebrated (is that the right word? Maybe “observed”) the 60th anniversary of Iwo Jima–did your granddad take part in any memorials? That’s wonderful that you got that interview with him. My granddad (George Hines) got a Purple Heart as an Air Corps bombardier in the ET, and I believe took part in D-Day, but he would never talk about his experiences.

  • Meg

    That interview was really remarkable, and I’m so glad that my grandfather is willing to talk about his experiences and has articulated them into such comprehensive stories. That’s a rare gift, and I’m grateful for it.
    It’s too bad that you didn’t get to learn more about your own grandfather’s experiences. It’s startling to realize how connected we are to history, and sometimes we don’t even comprehend the extent of those connections.

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