Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Vignette: Simorgh in the 21st Century

Stories about  Simorgh, the mythical flying creature, span 5000 years.  She is beautiful, with the tail feathers of a peacock that are magical.  She is inherently benevolent, able to heal man and to purify nature.   And in stories of Sufi mysticism, she is devine.

But Life has not been easy.

She is burnt black from the constant barrage and plucked out of magical feathers.

Her patience with us, and her protective bubble from us, has worn thin.  

No longer together, they fear the other.
Without empathy, all hope is lost.
Unless they transform their faults and reform as one.


Inspired by Len Lye's  rotating marks in Free Radicals (1959)

I developed a technique which takes advantage of modern technology.

Given the course look of Scratch film, the Birds may be represented by zoomorphic calligrams.

An Example of an animated calligram which uses the Arabic Alphabet
Amentü Gemisi Nasıl Yürüdü (1969)
Tonguç Yaşar,  Turkey
trt: 3 min. 15 sec.

I will also be scratching found footage.

By deconstructing the film at the edit points,

I will re-construct the clips to tell the story of Simorgh in the 21st Century.

I will develop a process for embossing the film which utilizes a 3D printer for making custom, fitted embossing folders.  This test uses off-the-shelf embossing folders.

The Direct to Film technique of Scratch Animation is in harmony the Simorgh's story, as it implies the birds themselves scratched the film as a document of this tragic event, and perhaps as a warning for mankind not to let history repeat itself.

Bird Parliament by Farid ud-Din Attar translated by Edward FitzGerald first published in Letters and Literary Remains of Edward FitzGerald (William Aldis Wright, ed.) London and New York: Macmillan and Co. [1889] Scanned at sacred-texts.com, April 2007. Proofed and formatted by John Bruno Hare. This text is in the public domain in the United States because it was first published prior to January 1st, 1923. These files may be used for any non-commercial use provided this notice of attribution is left intact in all copies.

At 4500 lines Attar's poem it is too long for one person to complete. I will ask 30 storytellers to each take on the representation of one bird., which they can make in any style and use the technique of their own choosing.  This will emphasize the multicultural and inclusive nature of the story.

 RECENT MEDIA    starring Simorgh

Simurgh boardgame
released June 2016
Simurg is a dragon.
Developers Website
Review by Board Game Geek

Simorgh Animation (2014) with animated Ebook (2016)
Listen to the professional reading of the poem in both languages.
Play a game to learn about the character design, and how the Arabic letters in the spelling of each bird name were used to give them form.


Professor Christine Panushka  CTAN 451; History of Animation
It was in this course that I first wondered:
"What would <name of legendary animator>  do if they had a computer?"

Professor Lisa Mann CTAN 544; Introduction to the Art of Animation
I used the large plus sign (+) embosser of Parasite with Symbiotic Intentions (from the Bani Adam series) to emboss the film before I scratched it. This triggered all the ideas documented in this blog post.

Professor Trixy Sweetvittales CTAN 547; Animation Production
With her guidance and patience, I developed a new Scratch technique utilizing digital technology.