Thursday, July 31, 2008

"The Next World"

Spaewaif asked freelance artist Len E. Burge a few questions regarding his animation short film "The Next World" with music by Cindytalk.

1.Could you tell us a bit about yourself?

This is always a hard question for me but I'll try. I am a 41 year old sculptor living in Ventura Ca with my bride to be and our three wonderful children. They are my life and ultimate inspiration!
As for career,I am a freelance sculptor-artist-animator-toy designer-inventor or whatever someone wants me to create. I'll find a way. My interest in creating film or video only comes when it is a total creative and free process. So, I don't do it very often.
I am currently creating sculpture work that I lightly manipulate on a computer to create images from my brain. This is my first endeavor in total inspired art that I would love to show in galleries. Finding the right gallery is another story.

2. You once wrote this self-introduction:
"My work borders on the edge of the pre-sleep imagination.
That space right between consciousness and unconsciousness where brilliant thought might enter the feeble mind."
I can very much relate those thoughts to Cindytalk's own work.When did you become acquainted with Cindytalk's music?

High school 1983?.
A friend's mother lent me some very interesting records. The one I fell in love with was the first "This Mortal Coil" .
I then learned of the different artists like Gordon Sharp and the different labels creating great new music.
An amazing awakening.
As for "Pre-sleep imagination and brilliant thought entering the feeble mind",this is a state I hope and wish everyone on the planet and beyond might feel at some point. Where consciousness and unconsciousness meet. They blend to reveal thoughts or many patterns of thoughts changing and revealing images or thoughts totally forgotten by the waking mind. The feeling that you have all the answers in the universe and that you are totally aware, BUT! You wake up. Often times the waking mind will erase this and make it feel too simple. Maybe so you will forget and go on with your daily routine. Maybe it's too soon for evolution of the mind to take place. I don't really know. Anyway, the end.

3.Your short film "The Next World" features music from
"The Wind is strong".
When Gordon Sharp and I talked about it,he was particularly impressed with the way the images fit the music.
How did you script the film? Did you first weave music into images or images into music?

"The wind is strong" is probably my favorite record I hold right up there with other ambient works from Eno to Budd. This kind of music is like a soundtrack to my life-work. Enhancing creativity rather than distracting. Creating a dream-like atmosphere in which to work to.
I knew which track I wanted and I knew the look and the style of the film. So, I sat down and created timed storyboards.
That is essential to animation because time is of the essence and every frame is used.
Obviously, I am very indebted to the great work of "The Brothers Quay", their work is amazingly flawless and beautiful.
With "The next world" I was going more for an old fashioned German expressionist style.

4.Time and its fragile but inexorable passing seems to be one of the themes of your film.
I am also curious about the character that falls down from above after peaking into a world seemingly beyond their position inside the clock...
Can you tell us more about the main ideas behind it?

The first little character in the film is under the impression that it controls and maintains the timeless dimension of "The next world". In his lonely curiosity he discovers another entity behind the scenes, so to speak. This startles him so he falls, destroying his outer shell and revealing that that he is the simple metal frame that he glimpsed in the beginning. Distraught, he sits and ponders when the real caretaker comes to meet him. Arms outstretched, he remembers and goes with the caretaker. The caretaker shows him the door to the next world. He enters and starts the cycle over. He will continue to repeat this life until he gets it right.
This is how I view life. Repeat until you get it right. I hope I'm getting it right.

5.The figures in your film are so full of life yet so fragile! Which materials did you use?

This film was very "green": 97% recycled wood and antique parts from an old film studio. Having only $10,000 to work with this was a necessity that really worked out well.

6.When did you film this work? Also,there seems to be a funny connection with Schindler's list...

I was approached, I think it was 1994?, by a rock band. They wanted me to direct an animated video for them. They only had $10,000 so I said I would if I had total creative control. They agreed. I made the Cindytalk film.
Then I put their music on a copy and gave it to the label. Nothing happened with it except for the experience and enjoyment of film making for me.
The studio I was working with supplied me with 35mm color film. I really wanted black and white. I called a lab and they said they would trade the color for leftover Schindler's list stock. So,of course! It was the highest quality b/w film on the market at the time. I was very lucky.

7.Which other Cindytalk music would you put images to?

So many! Well, Snowkisss would be wonderful although I really like what someone did on youtube. Very interesting. All of the Wind is Strong. That would be nice.

The Wind Is Strong was released in 1990.
Cindytalk members for this "diversion" were:

Gordon Sharp
Ivan Unwin
Matthew Kinnison
Paul Middleton

1 comment:

cndr said...

Thank you Len,both for your wonderful film and for answering the questions.Feel free to play with any Cindytalk tracks you fancy.Would love to see more.It's strange to see these "new" images to this music,especially considering the music was specially created for a film.It's been so long since i've seen Eclipse,i can hardly remember it.Sad.Cheers for "The New World",Len. Cndrx