A Hypnotic Music Video Animates Photocopies of Photocopies

This stop-motion music video for New Jackson's "The Night Mail" by Dublin-based animator Fergal Brennan explores how images degrade when photocopied repeatedly

This stop-motion music video for New Jackson's "The Night Mail" by Dublin-based animator Fergal Brennan explores a kind of visual entropy -- the ways images emerge and dissolve when captured with a Polaroid camera or photocopied repeatedly. 

New Jackson's The Night Mail EP is released on Pogo Recordings, and more of their music can be found here. The video was created with animation assistance from Leigh Arthur, Helena Egri, Renate Henschke, and Richard O'Shea. Brennan describes the creative inspiration for the video: 

The title of the song is namesake to the famous W. H. Auden poem, so I interpreted the song as being a kind of emotional journey. I have no idea what the lyrics are, since they are so distorted I can only guess at what it's really about. The way I interpret the song, it's divided into two sections; a darker opening section, and then some kind of brighter resolution for the last minute. Therefore, I wanted to employ a visual technique where the image was disintegrating at the beginning and reforming for the end section. I had been experimenting with animating photocopies before, the image disintegrates in such a lovely way when you blow them up huge. Photographing the Polaroids develop had also been something I had wanted to incorporate into a film for a long time. It all seemed to fit for this idea. I suppose there's a distinctly Modernist slant to Auden, trains and all that. So, for the imagery I chose, I tried mining areas that aren't totally referenced to death. Charles Demuth was a painter of mechanical motion that inspired me. There are some more ephemeral images of the era in there too, along with some random ones, just because I like them; Durer's Melancholia, some fractals, Maths puzzles, Kubelka, Deren, Whitney, Conrad etcetera. There were a lot of happy accidents in there too. I wanted to get that sense of locomotion, and I was surprised that at how effective the lines of photocopies are at doing that. Even having Jonathan Swift in there randomly, he epitomises that kind of ambivalence that's associated with being Irish, which I believe is also a theme in this song.

For more work by Fergal Brennan, visit http://www.mynameisfergal.com/

Via the Vimeo HD Channel.

Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg is the executive producer for video at The AtlanticMore

Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg joined The Atlantic in 2011 to launch its video channel and, in 2013, create its in-house video production department. She leads the development and production of original documentaries, interviews, and other video content for The Atlantic. Previously, she worked as a producer at Al Gore’s Current TV and as a content strategist and documentary producer in San Francisco. She studied filmmaking and digital media at Harvard University.

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