Fukt Magazine: How do you start with a new animation? Tell me briefly about the process of your animations.
Miodrag Manojlovic: It is a slow process, not only with animating but much more beforehand about collecting experiences, thoughts, images and sounds. When I start to work I have an idea of what I want to make or what kind of atmosphere to create, but it is always something changing during the process and I never know exactly how it will end up. It is some kind of adventure. Floating through the unknown for me is very inspiring. In that process I try to transform the idea into a visual and sound language that will communicate not only with the presence but will be the link between the past and the future. Although it takes time I really enjoy the making of the animation, maybe much more than the result. I’ve loved handcrafting since childhood, so combining handmade work with computer-based work includes a range of possibilities that I find really interesting.
I don’t limit myself to one sole medium, my choice of media is also depending on the idea. I want to find the medium that fits with the idea as good as possible. Sometimes I plan every detail but sometimes I just start to work, maybe animating one line and then developing the idea around it, until maybe a complete scheme emerges. Combining a systematic approach with imagination suits me perfectly.
Fukt Magazine: How do you work with sound in combination with image – do you make the sound yourself?
Miodrag Manojlovic: I like listening to, making, recording, and collecting sounds. Working with sound is almost like working with images. In the beginning I have a concept and then I like to experiment with a lot of possibilities until I develop something concrete. When I work with sound I like to close my eyes and try to visualize it or when I watch the image I try to hear the sound that relates to the meaning of the image. When combining image and sound, I am satisfied in the end if I don’t know what comes first, image or sound. I often include imperfections of sound and image as part of the work. Although I like perfection, sometimes imperfection comes naturally and fits into the work, so I leave it as it is, without any correction. What we hear also depends on where and how we listen, so according to this, I spend a lot of time thinking how and where my work could be presented best. I want the viewer to be immersed in my work, so I put a lot of effort in considering all aspects of the presentation.
Fukt Magazine: In your new animation “A Moment Ago” the narration is open, fragmented. But still the viewer has a sense of a story being told, without words. In what way are you interested in narration – or are you not? Do you use a script before the animation?
Miodrag Manojlovic: My animations don’t contain any predefined message. I rather include the visitors to actively participate in the experience and interpretation. Although I have an idea of what I work on, I still don’t want my animation to develop into one direction. I like to open up many paths of understandings or to open up possibilities for questions to arise. Sometimes I include narration just to keep the parts of the work together. I don’t use script, I rather visualize the idea when working on the animation. My drawings and paintings often are mental sketches of different kinds of thinking and feeling.
With the animation “A Moment Ago” I asked myself: how is it possible that sometimes a long period of time can be compressed in a few seconds, like in a dream. This is an animation of 7’20” minutes duration, and it is made up from about 4000 handmade drawings, hundreds of digital sketches, sound recordings, timing and movement calculations, combining different kinds of moving experiments and experience in many animation techniques. It took me almost two years of hard work to finish it. Now I am developing three ways of presentation: one channel installation, two channel installation, and installation as a small wooden box that will have screens on both sides of the box. Something between theater and sculpture.
Fukt Magazine: You are also working sometimes with animation workshops for kids. Tell me a bit about your experience teaching children to create animations.
Miodrag Manojlovic: Today animation is very natural for children, because they are exposed to far too many cartoons, especially with the high quality of the image and lifelike reality. They can identify themselves with the cartoon characters as if they were living beings. They almost take their behaviors as natural. So the boundaries between the real and virtual world are blurred. Although children like to watch cartoons, they also enjoy making things, and they like using the computer as a tool, so creating animations with kids is a very pleasant and satisfying work to do. In that process I do not think of myself as a teacher, but rather of someone who opens up mental spaces for creativity, and someone who encourages them to express themselves. We use different kinds of animation techniques, but the most interesting technique for kids is stop motion animation. We work with three-dimensional materials, clay, paper collages, different drawing tools, and so on…
We are surrounded with the atmosphere of creative work, and in that process we try to make some animations as a final product, but the most important thing of the workshops is that the kids are playing and feel happy during the process of creation. Then I am also happy!
Fukt Magazine: Which artists working with animation are you inspired by?
Miodrag Manojlovic: There are many animators whose work I admire, Jerzy Kucia, Yuri Norshteyn, and many others. My inspirations are also film directors, Tarkovsky, Bergman, or musicians like Stephan Micus or Toru Takemitsu. Although I mostly work with animation, I don’t see myself only as an animator, but rather as an artist who besides the animation uses various tools and mediums to visualize the combination of memories, observations and wishes, constantly floating between visible and invisible forms of expression.
*Fukt Magazine is a periodical published by Björn Hegardt