Jan Švankmajer was born in 4th Sept. 1934 in Prague, Czechoslovakia. A puppet theatre he was given as a Christmas present when he was a child influenced his career. Soon, he studied at the “College of Applied Arts” in Prague while studying the “Department of Puppetry” at the Prague Academy of Performing Arts.” In the later 1900s, He started his career in by making films in Prague. This includes “1988 Alice” and “1994 Faust.” Švankmajer had gained a reputation for his “Stop Motion Techniques.” In addition, he uses pixilation techniques with his films “1996 Conspirators of Pleasure” and “1992 Food.” In the later 1983, Švankmajer was awarded several major prizes for his 1982 film, “Dimensions of Dialogue”
For every animator in history, they each have their own type of style that makes them unique and different from the rest. Rather then Bruce Bickford, Jan Švankmajer has a style where he would give the viewer a disturbing vibe while sending out the appropriate message. Jan Uhde had stated in Jan Švankmajer: The Prodigious Animator From Prague “their composition, colour, shapes, texture and naturally, their contextuality.” (Kinema). I noticed this a lot while watching videos that mostly involve clay animation. Svankmajer would usually use objects to help bring out a much disturbance as possible. For example, in his video “1989 Oscuridad Luz Oscuridad (Darkness Light Darkness),” Švankmajer used doll eyes, a cow’s tongue and an actual brain. Even though it did make his video disturbing, it also made the clay head the appearance of a living breathing human head. Švankmajer knows how to make his creations more and disturbing in order to bring out the purpose of each video.
In the process of making the stop motion project, I tried to capture the elements that Švankmajer used in his animation videos. The two common elements that Švankmajer used is the stretch and squeeze animation and used inanimate object to help bring out the message of the film more. For example, these two elements can be seen in “1982 Dimensions of Dialogue” and “1992 Food.” I tried to adopt these two elements when the bottles and chairs would come together to make the ball and the giant worm creature. By using the scissors, I wanted to help further on the disturbance of the video.
The success rate I think I reached was 65%-75% to adapting Švankmajer’s animation style. I think this is my success rate because of how Švankmajer was able to make his videos very disturbing with the clay model’s actions and objects that used. Also, his clay models moved like they were alive. If I were to make any changes to mine, it would be to uses objects that can further on the disturbance I was looking for. In addition, try to put more craftsmanship into my models so it doesn’t show any dents or finger impressions. My clay figures we made on my own and served their purpose; this project will help further on my experience to make it more better.
Jan Uhde Jan Švankmajer: The Prodigious Animator From Prague. (Kinema)
Marie J. Jean Jan Švankmajer (VOX) 7th, June 2012