Norman McLaren: Animated Musician at Encounters

Participating on the Encounters Jury this year will be Iain Gardner, the Artistic Director of McLaren 2014 and short animated film maker to boot. Here is Iain's round up of a series of special events at Encounters which celebrate Norman McLaren’s work and legacy in his centenary year.

The final events of the McLaren 2014 programme, which has been celebrating Norman McLaren’s work and legacy around the UK since the Centenary of his birth on the 11th of April 2014, will be presented during the 20th edition of the Encounters Short Film & Animation Festival in Bristol, 16th – 21st September 2014.

Norman McLaren’s ambition was to make filmmaking “as simple, intimate and exciting a form of artistic expression as the traditional fields of drawing, painting and sculpture.”  Not only did he create his own imagery, he also made his own music by drawing, etching and photographing patterns directly onto the sound track area of the film; and became one of the pioneers of electronic music in the 20th century, long before the invention of the synthesizer.

Encounters tunes into this relationship between image and music with live events, workshops and screening of a brand new documentary by the director of Creative Process: Norman McLaren.

Norman McLaren: Animated Musician, a 27 minute film directed by Donald McWilliams celebrates McLaren’s exploration of music and presents much never-before-seen work by this master of cinema.

Bringing a 21st Century spin on McLaren’s relationship to music, Cine-Seizure on the 19th of Sept is an immersive club experience with five screens pumping out exciting contemporary visuals with techno rhythms.

There are two concurrent workshops running on the 20th September, with a choice between creating Analog Video inspired by McLaren’s film methods and Live Audiovisual Coding with Thor Magnusson exploring how new expressive performance and compositional methods allow for intrinsically mapped audiovisual pieces.

McLaren 2014 comes to a close on the 20th Sept with the Seeing Sound Salon presented by Bath Spa University. This informal afternoon will focus on the legacy of Norman McLaren’s innovative experiments with ‘hand-drawn’ or ‘animated’ sound, exploring his role in the development of synthetic sound, electronic ‘visual music’, and experimental animation, and will feature the UK premier of Donald McWilliams new documentary Norman McLaren: Animated Musician.

(This text by Iain Gardner originally appeared on the McLaren 2014 website).