The content you are viewing is from the 2016 Festival. For the current Festival information please click here!  

Young Creatives Blog

Coeli Caymo visits Screenkids

Tuesday 1 March 2016

  • Review

The Subiaco Arts Centre was filled with interactive activities and entertainment on 26–28 February. My experience of the event started on the Thursday before for the volunteer induction and tour around the building. Two days later, I arrived at the venue to help with the Digital Drawing Wall for a couple of hours.

The Digital Drawing Wall was an interactive way for children to draw what they wanted on a big scale. The program was actually controlled by the two artists, James Foley and Samantha Hughes, on their Wacom tablets and computers and was projected on the white walls. The sizes of the dots from the pen nibs were changed and used as bouncy balls for the children to bounce back and forth with the two helpers. The artists also wrote down instructions for the kids to follow which made it seem like an interaction with an Artificial Intelligence. The colours that they used were bright and eye-catching which was appropriate for the children. Watching the kids interact with the things happening on the wall was really entertaining because they didn’t know that it was actually the artists who were controlling the drawings.

I left the Digital Drawing Room to catch the 11.30am screening of Program B. The screening consisted of nine short films from six different countries and the animations definitely evoked different emotions within me.

The first animation was called Mr Selfie and it focused on our current fixation with our smartphones. Most of us are so focused with the events within our mobile devices that we miss out on what’s going on around us. I didn’t really expect my guilty conscience to be ignited by an animated film on that day.

Tik-Tak­ was one of the next films and it was a short film about a watchmaker who controls time and a mouse who controls clocks. The aesthetic of the animation reminded me of Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg’s claymation films that are currently being exhibited at PICA. Tik-Tak is the second time-related show I have seen during the Perth International Arts Festival and I was just as confused as I was after watching Refuse the Hour. I find time an interesting concept and considered the film as an extension as I just finished learning Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, time dilation, space-time diagrams and the lot in physics. The film’s focus on time and its transient nature also catalysed a tiny little existential crisis.

Spoku Stunda (Ghost Hour) is a claymation film about a ghost whose job is to haunt and frighten people. However, on one night, the ghost meets a girl who is not afraid of him which conveyed a satirical tone throughout the animation.

The following film, The Present, was my favourite in the program. Itreminded me of the John Lewis adverts that come out every Christmas season. The film opened with a boy who seems to spend most of his time playing video games and my initial thought was, ‘Sigh, here’s another one criticising the current generation.’ The boy’s mother then decided to give him a little surprise – a dog who is missing one leg. The boy initially neglects the dog and he remains playing his video games. As the film continued, the boy’s tolerance towards the dog increased and he decided to take the dog outside to play. The denouement of the film showed the boy and the dog walking out of the door; and the similarities between him and the animal became more evident.

After being emotionally provoked, Three Fools presented a lighter tone due to the three main characters, Red, Green and Blue. The film’s aesthetic and moral was very similar to The Lorax as it focused on deforestation and the preservation of the environment.

Apart from the short films, there were also other interactive activities in the venue.

Headrush by Lieven van Velthoven was located in the ground floor and it is a three-dimensional holographic game where you have to physically avoid and dodge obstacles. The other room had the shadow tables that were activated by placing your body part over them to create colours and shapes. The whole setup also brought back memories from The Secret Garden exhibition where animations were projected on tables.

Even though I was only there for one day, I got to experience the wide range of activities within the venue and witness the joy it brought to all the families who were there. Seeing all the kids play around and having fun, especially with the Digital Drawing Wall, certainly created a nostalgic atmosphere!

Young Creative: Visual Arts

Written By Coeli Caymo