Animated short films are one of the biggest romances of my life, and animation is one of the most interesting genres that I have had access to. Almost by definition, animation destabilizes all the certainties we have about reality: what is alive and what is not, what moves and what doesn't, what has a soul or conscience or however you want to name it and what doesn't. Defining animation is almost impossible. Few genres are as experimental, and few genres are as fun. Thanks to Karla Castro's invitation, I had the opportunity to curate/program 27 thematic sessions of animation shorts at the Tonalá Cinema in Tijuana, where, in addition, I could comment on the films while knocking back my courtesy drinks. Here is a list (description included) of the 27 Animartes. And here is a link with (almost) all the animations that have an image in the following list.
ANIMARTES NO MORE
During two years, we have screened 364 animated shorts in 27 Animartes. This is the last one: just the favorites. So no more crowds in a room. No more lyrics dancing. No more butchers with poor aim or endless ladders. No more kisses, no hats, no recycling, no techno-capitalist assemblages, no Bambi, no Godzilla, no hardcore, no drugs, no shit, no magic, no blood, no Pook. No more!
Let's be rational. Animartes is dying. After showing 347 animated shorts at 24 Animartes, it's time to do the math. This Animartes All-Stars is reserved for the best short films of the directors that have been programmed the most. The cream of the cream, then. The best of the best. Pure gems. Pure genius. Pure classics.
BASIC INGREDIENTS OF THE FOLLOWING ANIMARTES: Tips for the young artist. Dad is dead. I have no idea what I want. How to use the copier in the office. Rehabilitate a dream. One (of) pirate (s). Books that dance. How to blend in. An uncomfortable mole. Machines that reproduce. Squares that want to unsquare themselves. How to make yourself real.
All this, and a little more, in Animartes Mixtape.
It's clear that January is the worst. Cold, rain, no money, return to work and routine. Ugh. In order to give January a spin, Animartes proposes sex. Animated sex. But also filthy, funny, surreal and absurd sex. And sublime, colourful, wet and even embarrassing sex. The kind of sex that makes you want to cry, or pirouette in the street, or scream as if it were the end of the world. When in fact it is the beginning, as it is January. Which is the worst. As an antidote: sex.
We are looking for that moment when the world finds a rhythm, and hopefully, our body finds itself in it. This Tuesday, spots, lines and colours dance, voices sing cartoons and musical instruments screen themselves. Just acoustic-visual synesthesia: visual noise and sound stains. Our gazes become rhythm, our body song. Drawn choreographies:
music for the eyes, images for the ear.
Turn around once. Or twice. Or thrice. And flow.
ANIMARTES GREATEST HITS
After twenty-five Animartes, the next to last one gathers together the audience's favourite animations, the ones that caused the most laughs, scares or sighs. So a bit of everything, but only the best: word crimes, vintage porn, cats that won't die, clitoris, magicians, frogs with bad luck and plastic surgeries. Take a ride, just the greatest hits!
Weird bugs. Like frogs in heat, and jealous rabbits. Like children whose face does not stay still. Or people who have extra fingers or arms. Or those with cannibal reflux. Or those who are never one. And those that reproduce with different methods. Or those who have never been alive. And feel like stones. Or killer cars. Or those who have no name. Or you. Or me. They. Us. Weirdoes, then.
Who doesn't want love? Even a little? Love equals life. Love equals happiness. Love equals money. Love equals sex. Love equals chemistry. Love equals lies. Love equals illusion. Love equals smiles. Love equals crying. Love equals fear. Love equals dreams.
Love = Animartes. Take a ride, what could go wrong?
Why is a paunchy old man coming into your house at dawn? Why does Santa Clós bring more gifts to the rich kids? Have you noticed that Satan and Santa have the same letters?
Doesn't all that tenderness seem suspicious to you? Would we welcome Mary and Joseph with open arms? Will it snow in Tijuana? Shouldn't we be concerned about the labor exploitation of elves in these times? This Navidanimartes we are fostering all the mistrust that this weird season generates. If there is Christmas, let it be bizarre.
You wake up in the middle of the night and the doll smiles at you. Your eyes fill with insects. When you get there, everyone's dead. Something has taken over you; it is not kind. The voices won't shut up: They tell you bedtime horror stories. That child is eating a human hand. You read the newspaper: all the dead have returned. The toilet spits blood. Mermaids howl in the night. There's nothing like being afraid. Come celebrate that nights are getting longer and the borders of reality more tenuous. Animations to die of fear, laughter and madness on this Wednesday, when souls are on the loose.
Words are usually trapped. In sentences, in paragraphs, and in phrases; in pages, conversations and books. Animation gives them a bit of space. It frees writing from its traditional prisons and allows it to become sounds, things or images, stories or textures. This September, Literanimartes intends to liberate words and letters, let them run free, shit and fornicate, get confused and lose their way to see what kind of creatures they become. So this month, on this big screen, just letters gone crazy.
ANIMARTES SCIENCE FICTION
Tomorrow —and everyone knows— we'll be paying more attention to machines than to people. Tomorrow —and who doubts it— our computer will give us more orders than today. Tomorrow —and who hasn't met them— the streets will be full of mutants, aliens and hybrids. Tomorrow it'll be tougher to differentiate between outer and inner space, the inert and the animate, the stupid and the intelligent machines. This July, Animartes will be concerned with science fiction, that particular genre that when talking about tomorrow,
tells us what happens today.
ANIMARTES TUTTI FRUTTI
This August, Animartes bets on the eclectic. Animations of all flavours and colours. Pretty, vulgar and bizarre. Tender and cursed. Those that make you laugh, those that make you angry, those that make you cry. Porn: both funny and serious. Experimental and traditional. New and old. Rude and prudent. From here and there. So, animations out of chili, mole and lard.
ANIMARTS AT WAR
War —hard not to have noticed— is everywhere. Whether in high or low intensity, in rural or urban environments, war surrounds us. Its development is our tech: both the computer and the internet are fruits of war. Its extremes show our frightening fragility. Its aesthetic —the spectacle of our own destruction— captures our eyes. This June, Animartes is dedicated to war, to its plasticity and the efficiency with which it destroys everything that seems familiar to us, to the hope that, in the midst of all the massacres, even a small piece of us remains.
Animators who animate about animation. Drawings that draw themselves. Stories that swallow each other. Pencils that kill their creations. Puppets that bring their creators back to life. Copies that are not theft. Giant teddy bears on the road. Animation riddles. Western movies breaking down. Video against film. Film versus video. Animations against animators. Confused? So are we! This Metanimartes, no idea who'll be who. We'll wait for you. Let's get confused!
ANISABADO 4 CHILDREN
We've suffered adults long enough! We are fed up with serious and boring stuff! Why not smart and funny instead (and at the same time!)? That's what Children's Day is for, right? Sugar overdose, runaway energy, laughter, and unhinged ideas.
Too much reality? Take a break this Saturday and join us in an attempt to bring your mental age down to less than ten digits. We all have a little child trapped inside.
So bring your kids this Anisábado. If you don't have any, bring your nephews, cousins or neighbours. And if you don't have one either, borrow one, after all, all kids will get in for free. See you here!
We suffer too much from the "normal". The days of the week, the suffering of our day job, the inefficiency of money, missionary sex, romantic love and life in general. Animation has always supported the weird, which is the most effective antidote to normality. Weird as in not knowing what to think and not being able to do anything other than let go. Weird like what in hell is happening over there. Weird as in let's watch it again. Weird as in I don't know what you do but it feels good. Weird like that which leaves you speechless. Weird like a trip, like a hundred ants exploring your brain, weird like psychedelic, hallucinogenic and unhinged, like absurd, funny and vile. Strange as in weird. Weird like the first time.
This March, Animartes dresses up as weird. Weird as weird. Weird like you. We'll wait for you.
There are those who think that it is actually love that animates the world, while others are sure that it actually trips and kicks it while it's on the ground. There are those who think that this particular disease is the best thing that can happen to you; others say they have scars that prove the exact opposite. Sometimes love just wants quick, filthy sex; sometimes, it's boring and sweet like falling asleep; at other times, its only origin is marketing, not chemistry. But yes, love makes you smile like a fool, and with that excuse Enamoranimartes wants to show you the multiple sides of love, this month in which everything conspires so that love makes you spend more than necessary
Ugh! January is the most difficult of months. You barely survived Christmas and are not really sure that people love you after spending that much on them. And you have to pay for everything. It's fucking cold and rainy. You go back to classes, to work, to normal life,
which is not easy at all. it's hard to smile.
So this month, pure discouragement, because there is no genre more cruel with its characters than animation. Ask the Coyote or Itchy and Scratchy. No promises. No happy endings. No friendly and smiling faces. Just discouragement. So you'd better help us find the punchline to the tragedy. And lick our wounds. And laugh, and hurt, together, even for just a night.
ANIMARTES: HIGH CONTRAST
Black and White. Light and darkness. Dreams, sex and shadows. Desire and pain. Snoring, grunting, groaning. Chaos and Metachaos. Land of fools. Land of the blind. Land of faith. Intercourse by mail. Unconscious calm. Slips. Skidding. Landings. Living death Living objects. One last dance. Negative. Positive. Rejections. Attractions. Super positions. Underground. Above. Below. Love Hate. Animartes. November. High. Contrast.
Christmas gets the best and the worst out of people. On one hand, brotherly love, shelter from the cold, vacations and gifts. On the other hand, a demonic cold, money that is never enough and all the misery of capitalism. Animartes Navidad bets on this schizophrenia: a collection of animated shorts from around the world that show how Christmas is both the most beautiful time and the most detestable holiday of the whole year.
Insects crawling up your face. The voices you hear when the lights go out. The guy who follows you when you walk. The doll that changes places at night. The knife to the throat. The tentacled neighbour. The zombie that asks for money. The fragility of the body. Nothing like being afraid. Come celebrate as the nights grow longer and the borders of the world grow dimmer. Animations to fear, to laugh, to goosebump. Special gifts for those who arrive in disguise that Tuesday when souls are set loose.
ANIMARTES NO NO
September 12, 2017.
After scheduling animated shorts with restrictions, the only animations for September WILL HAVE humans, fictions, stories, and drawings. From the surreal to the absurd, the realistic to the sublime, and from the ridiculous to the frankly disconcerting, this time we will listen to sleep, we will see cutouts dance, the history of humanity
and other accumulated weird stuff.
ANIMARTES NO DRAWINGS
August 8, 2017.
Out of pure spite, we will close the first Animartes cycle with short films without drawings, which normally dominate the genre. In these short films, and as in "primitive" societies, EVERYTHING is animated. On this occasion, we will see candy, campfires, sand and snow, tongues, bugs, cutouts, beads, people, thread, legos, letters and even pins move and sway.
August 1, 2017.
This Animartes, the question is how animators deal with reality using techniques that, by their nature, deform it. Along the way, we will find out what happens when animators go crazy, word crimes, what Barry says, an animation how-to, a wonder cabinet, moths, and of course, the clitoris
ANIMARTES NO NARRATIVE
Tuesday June 25, 2017
Without the need to tell stories, animation is also the study of free and limitless transformation: the world becomes fluid, psychedelic, viral and rhizomatic, nothing begins or ends. On this Animartes: all the ranges of the face, the god Pan descends among us, images become music, scratches, affections and above all, sensations.Eye candy.
ANIMARTES NO HUMANS
Tuesday June 18, 2017.
Animation moves what doesn't seem to. When it comes to getting it rolling, the options are endless: sand, rocks, cups, and a thousand other things. Humans actually get in the way. On this occasion, we will show ten shorts that include sofas that will make you blush, unfaithful insects, badly behaved stuffed animals, a rain forest, fine art at its worst, and Godzilla, of course.