Experimental Film Animation

Michael Basov

Digital sandglass

Perhaps, when the first sandglass appeared, people watched sand pouring from one bulb into the other with just the same interest as we watch movie characters. This most ancient kind of chronometer was certainly invented by a poet who knew that there was nothing more durable than a rope made of sand grains for one could not break something that had never been a whole… Such is also the nature of time… A device that embodied the metaphor could not be but admired. By turning over the sandglass one could start time again. And this is already magic.

In the mechanical clock, this profound poetry yielded to theatre, show, outer effects. The course of time, as simple as sand itself, did not amuse anyone anymore. Rotation of the clock hands, swinging of the pendulum, vibration of the springs are undoubtedly dancing. The gear is a ballerina; the cuckoo is an actress; the face is a stage…

In the age of digital timers, we lost the ability to perceive time poetically. The digital display shows the most tedious film in the world that consists of 60 frames per minute, 60 shots per hour, and 24 scenes per day. There is no suspense in it. Digital clocks are intrusive like summer mosquitoes, buzzing in the same obnoxious high-pitch manner, as if constantly trying to remind us of their existence. By looking at them, you understand that the evolution of time image has stopped.

It is possible, however, to bring back to the minute all its poetry by turning it, rather than the chronometer, into a piece of art. In our work, we tried to see again time in sand, in the initial metaphor “the sand of time”, by combining a digital “film-timer” with the poetical joy of the oldest clock. Time, created of sand, is like children’s play or a ritual. Instead of digital precision, there is trembling of the artist‘s hand and chance and revelation.
(Translated by Dmitry Labukchin)

j vimeo.com/12592731

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