Evening Will Come: A Monthly Journal of Poetics (Issue 24, December 2012—Trans / Queer Issue)

Momoko Allard
This Morning

This is my first try at frame-by-frame animation. It’s the fruit of about two weeks of steady work drawing, scanning, ordering, reordering, redrawing and editing. What you see now is still rough and awkward in many spots. Hopefully it’s on its way to what will eventually be a tighter, smoother and a bit more sophisticated (what more could one want?) two-minute video.

Since I’m sharing this midway in the learning-process, I thought I could write about some of the things I’m still trying to figure out. I make a lot of drawings that usually remain as 2D images on paper, often put together in book form. But screens are overtaking paper, and line drawings in a book don’t always translate well into bitmap images on a monitor, so I’ve been thinking of animating in video as a way of maintaining the handmade quality of drawing while making use of what a digital screen can do.

The short text in this animation is from my girlfriend, recounting to me in email a dream she had had. I liked the thread of anxiety running through it, how its meaning was ambiguous, and how it could be interpreted differently depending on the assumed gender of the speaker.

My girlfriend and I communicate in a mishmash of Japanese, her first language, and English, mine. Both of us are still working on reaching fluency in the other language, so our relationship takes place at this half-way meeting point that often feels amazingly unified and intimate, but also sometimes a bit isolating and disconnected from the separate Japanese and English worlds that she and I live and work in. So I like the idea of trying to make something that bridges the gaps between the two sides, and opens one world to the other.

Needless to say, Japanese and English follow very different rhythms, and I haven’t quite figured out yet how to have on-screen text in both languages at the same time, and if it’s possible to devise a tempo that combines both, or that conveys the cadence of one language for speakers of the other. And then of course, there are the different semiotic references on each side to consider…

My new favourite word: 愛液 (ai eki), literal translation, ‘love liquid.’