Saturday 8 November 2008

Tal Rosner

Tal Rosner Guest Speaker 7th Nov 08

“I think of myself as a sculptor in motion rather than a painter.”

Tal Rosner specialises in low budget. Experimental abstract animation and recently won a BAFTA award for his opening title sequence for ‘Skins’. He brings a strong graphic and kaleidescopic slant to animation. He makes urban industrial units and transport corridors into stunning moving shapes, lines, textures and patterns. It is interesting to find out that his favourite period in history is 1905-1935, with its experimental abstract outlook. He was particularly influenced by the Bauhaus and Josef Albers.

Tal graduated with a degree in graphic design and “a knack for rhytmn and movement’. He was keen to be in total control of a small project rather than part of a team in a large project. He did an MA at St Martins Central college, on the moving image pathway. He produced ‘Doppelganger’ in his final year, 2004/5.

This 4min (approx) sequence is set in SE London in the docklands redevelopment area. He filmed the journey of the docklands driverless train from the front carriage and edited into moving patterns.

Stravinsky Project
Next, he did a 20 min. dvd project with two French musicians; the ‘Stravinsky Project’. He animated their renditions of Stravinsky and Debussy so it could be marketed to a younger audience. Here, he started to use clouds, water, rippling grass, cranes and windpower turbines as part of the moving images.

Skins 2005
The first series was a very low budget “rebellious idea”. He did 72 versions of the title sequence before he got the final verrsion! He won a BAFTA for this sequence, perhaps because it was so new and cutting edge. He felt it was hard to follow this act when he was invited to do the sequence for the second series, because he had in effect “done it before”. He is currently working on the 3rd series. Someone else does the ‘grading’ edit to his work afterwards, where the colours are adjusted slightly so they tie in.

Barbican live performance – Nan Carrow (American who composed music for mechanical piano). Series of moving and repeating soft-focus white triangles, circles and lines, based on punch-outs, against a black background.

In 7 days of Creation
Live concerts – London/Los Angeles/Amsterdam. Tal’s biggest project.
Tal worked with a composer- music & visuals being sorted out together. Showing the 7 days of creation in an abstract and non-religious way – a definate narrative. Creation of sun, moon, animals, trees. Tal used only the London Festival Concert Hall as source material. The trees had scaffolding as their source. The stars were from light-fittings. This was a 6-screen projection. A click track editor took Tal’s sequence, tracked the visuals and ensured they matched the live music.

Without You – experimental animation for Channel 4
Tal based this work on Josef Alber’s poem:-

Calm down
what happens
happens mostly
without you

By chance, Tal passed Brentford by taxi and was attracted by the new industrial units going up there, and the seemingly random way decisions were made on colours and layout. He drew a circle from the centre of London, which linked Brentford with other similar areas on the periphery of London, and filmed in these places. He wanted to get away from classical music, so he kept the sound on when he was filming, in order to reveal the hidden soundscapes. Roller-shutters, windows, trees, birds all become moving shapes, lines, textures & pattern. The images seem to shimmer like reflections on water, but they become embedded in roller-shutters and branches -  and then the images move as if they are part of a kaleidescope. The images also echo Mondrian’s grid-like compositions. This is Tal’s favourite piece to date.

I found Tal’s work quite inspirational and other-worldly, especially because he can draw out such magic from seemingly ordinary, boring and non-descript urban-fringe and transport-route areas. I didn’t think gantries or light-industrial roller-shutters could look so memerising before. I can look again with fresh eyes! My favourite pieces were ‘Doppelganger’, perhaps because of my interest in train travel, and ‘Without You’ because of its magic.

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