Format: 8 bit Animation – 1 min 27 sec – 2010
Bear Untitled is the first in a series of experiments designed to figure out an efficient way to reduce the tedious process of animation, while still telling an emotional and engaging story.
Back in 2010 I stumbled across a small piece of Pixel-animation free-ware called Graphicsgale. It struck me that 8 bit would be perfect for reducing the time consuming animation process: The limited resolution leaves you with a way faster and more intuitive work-flow – and limited animation and the use of loops has an old school feel to them, which further reduces your time schedule.
It took Henrik Sjørslev (sounddesign) and I about 2 days to create the entire film from start to finish. After we uploaded it, we figured that it would just fade into obscurity, but it got swallowed up whole by the internet through cats like David Oreilly and Matt Lambert – and less than 6 months after we had created it, it ended up at the Guggenheim in New York as a part of the Youtube/Play exhibition featuring “a selection of the most unique, innovative, groundbreaking video work being created and distributed online”.
Everything after that is just a blur…
A lot of people has attacked Bear Untitled for being dumb and mindless (Especially after the Guggenheim picked it up) and that is fine by me – but there is another layer to it:
We wanted to create a well rounded story (with good setups and payoffs) that would play with the expectations of the audience. It is a comment on the classic roles people slip into during a breakup situation. In fact the entire story is based on the clichés of a breakup. If you take away the characters and the setting (and the suicide) it is actually a straight forward “real life” breakup dialogue. The characters and the setting, and the emotional conversations acted out in ice-cold monotone voices, should help put focus on the absurdity of these passionate and often irrational moments.
All this sounds very deep and reflected. Truth is; I would be just as happy if you just watch it as a silly piece of retro culture that brightens up your day…
“There are a few signs of life; “Bear untitled — D.O. Edit,” by a Danish animator named Christen Bach, depicts the violent breakup between a hunter and the bear who no longer loves him in a heartlessly deadpan video-game style that accents its absurdist twist while sending up the genre”
Roberta Smith, the New York Times
“I endorse this video. It shows that bears are more than just savage hunters but also emotionally vulnerable, complicated and flawed”
Editor Bear, Today in Bears