Last Thursday night I had the pleasure of attending Architecture MN’s Videotect 2 Awards. Held in the Walker Cinema as part of Target Free Thursday Nights, the second annual video competition culminated in this screening event complete with audience participation, giant checks, and even Jason DeRusha.
This year’s competition theme, sustainable transportation, elicited a variety of short video entries that explore, harpoon, criticize, and raise questions about the broad topic. While the Grand Prize Winner Saddlebag is excellent in its effortless blend of visual appeal and effective messaging, I personally found one of the Honorable Mention winners slightly more intriguing.
A Fistful of Asphalt, entered by moviemaker John Akre of Sloppy Films, plays homage to the 1964 Clint Eastwood classic, A Fistful of Dollars. Equating a busy street to the Wild West, anthropomorphic automobiles act as villains that ruthlessly rule the road while paying no mind to innocent pedestrians. Akre brings a hero to town, ‘The Man with No Car,’ who is boldly armed with bike lanes, traffic circles, and streetcars. Narrated like a movie trailer, the video concludes with a playful and poignant, “Coming soon to your town.”
While the message of this short is clear and clever, I was more blown away by the creative method of delivery. The mixing of multiple forms of animation blended with the unique soundtrack of layered voices stood out from the larger group of entries. From the claymation Clint look-a-like to the croaking collaged cars, the combination of techniques proves to be both strangely endearing and interestingly entertaining.
All of the videos are worth watching. They are funny and thought provoking at best and slightly nauseating at worst – beware of the very centripetal force of Centripetal! It may be too late to vote for viewer’s choice, but it is never to late to consider a relevant topic from multiple artful perspectives.
Viewfinder posts are your opportunity to “show & tell” about the everyday arts happenings, interesting sights and sounds made or as seen by Minnesota artists, because art is where you find it. Submit your own informal, first-person responses to the art around you to katie(at)mnartists.org, and we may well publish your piece here on the blog. (Guidelines: 300 words or less, not about your own event/work, and please include an image, media, video, or audio file, and one sentence about yourself.)