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My animations come from my love for books as physical objects. I work in stop motion, using cut-out marionettes. I build all the figures and backdrops with paper, cloth, and thread derived from discarded hardcover volumes. All my characters are literally dressed with books. I am interested in texture, in the intimate, lyrical resonance that small things are able to communicate when they are enlarged. My animations are both bi- and tridimensional. Everything happens on a flat surface and yet there are small depths, illusory perspectives, tiny shadows, creases, rips, folds, holes.
I also use other found materials—dirt, wood, hair, wax etc. I go on walks and pick up insignificant objects off the street, a piece of glass, a rusty screw, a broken watch. These objects bring into my films a worn quality, their own history of wear and tear. I just have to put them in front of a character, and wait for an unexpected dynamic to be set in motion. Rather than telling a linear story, it’s this realm of surprise that I am interested in. I construct encounters, apparitions, accidents, and see how the characters react. Their behavior is not entirely up to me. It has been known for centuries: marionettes have a life on their own. Their limbs are “dead, pendulum-like”, as Heinrich von Kleist writes in his essay “On the Marionette Theatre” (1801), and “follow mechanically on their own without anything else needing to be done.” In my work, the cut-outs are laid flat, resting on a surface, and there is a strange mixture of obedience and resistance in their movements, caused by the friction with the cloth. I am never sure whether I am leading them or they are leading me. Von Kleist has written beautiful pages about the relation between puppeteer and marionette, and about the grace that marionettes possess, “particularly the smaller ones.” All my figures are only two or three inches tall. In the delicacy of their tiny, flimsy mechanism of paper, cloth, string is inscribed their own specific way of (re)acting, and their own specific way of manifesting their loneliness and longing.
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