One thing I learned to appreciate at Offf in Barcelona was the importance of creating simply for the sake of creating. When we let go of the reins and give ourselves the time and space to produce motion graphics for the oft-overlooked audience that matters the mostâ€”ourselvesâ€”strange things happen.
In the case of Chicago-based Eatdrink, those strange things can be oddly compelling. They recently finished The Cat State, an experimental in-house short, and John Dretzka agreed to answer a few questions about it for you, gentle reader.
How did the idea for the film come about?
I formally joined up with eatdrink in January of this year. Chad the EP/owner here was trying to beef up operations in the Chicago office in order that it could evolve into a functioning production studio. Among several other reasons, I was hired to help ease in the change. It just so happened that March was a slow month in which we were in between client projects, it was pretty clear that it would benefit the studio to initiate an activity like animating a short film. I started brainstorming for the video by first assembling a large collage from found advertisements, educational graphs and ornamental clip art. From there the concept evolved.
What’s it all about? What are the driving concepts behind the piece? Or is it more just a visual stream of consciousness?
The concept of The Cat State was inspired by Robert Anton Wilson’s book “Schrodinger’s Cat Trilogy.” The book is essentially a comedy/science fiction mash-up in which several plots occur simultaneously between different quantum dimensions. Schrodinger’s Cat theory is a complicated exercise in theoretical science that involves poisoning a cat in an isolated environment. It’s really worth looking up the wiki article on it, as my describing it would butcher the meaning.
The slides in the piece symbolize different dimensions, or different modes of consciousness.
How much time was eatdrink able to commit to the project? Was it difficult finding time to work on it while juggling other projects?
This ended up taking about 2-3 weeks of our full attention. But finishing and revisions dragged on for a bit when client work started again. It was difficult making the time, but you end up learning how to work in-between the cracks.
Why do you think it’s important for a studio to spend time working on experimental shorts?
When studios stop making independent work the point of what we are doing in the field of Motion Graphics becomes lost. Strange short films have gotten us to where we are today, with our discipline being accepted, embraced and funded by agencies. Experimental work has always been the catalyst for radical change in the way our media looks. Just because our art is being bank-rolled doesn’t mean we should be compromising our ideas and/or stop making original art.