MONSTRA, because the essential is invisible to the eye!

“If you’re still alive it’s because you have not gotten where you should be.”

Albert Einstein

One of the cinematographies which had the most influence on the creation of the MONSTRA Festival, was the animation film produced in Canada. One of those who also influenced us, and who most inspired the animation of that country would be, on April 11th, 2019, 105 years old.

He was a pioneer, an innovator, a creative, an experimentalist, of both image and sound. His true passion was movement. Real movement as well; he loved dance, but he was fascinated by the movement created image by image. Not mimetic movement, copied from reality, but free movement, which is created and recreated in the mind of each spectator, at the moment of projection. He treated it as would a poet. Produced it as would a jeweller. He was an animator. An animation film director.

In 1995, he wrote the simplest and most complete phrase on what is animation film: “For the animator, the difference between each successive frame is more important than the image on each single frame. Animation therefore is the art of manipulating the differences between successive frames”.

For Norman McLaren, the man about whom we are speaking, the most important thing in animation is not what one sees in each image, but what takes place in between each image…the invisible.

And this invisible created, throughout these 127 years of animation film´s existence, such a great fascination which brought this art to thousands of people around the whole world. It turned it into what is today perhaps the most used art in the world. Whether in communication or in entertainment, in visualization, experimentation and exemplification, in all areas, in the arts and sciences, exact, social and human.

From the simple app which allows us to create short gifs, to complex tests or technical exemplifications. From publicity for the most spectacular films or digital games. From avatars to the powerful virtual or augmented reality simulators. It all rests upon images created one by one. It is all animation.

At MONSTRA, we make the connection between people and these two aspects of a fascinating and dazzling art: with simple tools, techniques and forms, but also with its diversity and technical and technological complexity.

Every year we create bridges between new and future creators. We create links between great authors and children and young people, enabling a greater understanding of the essence of an art which is fundamental to their future. We are aware that diversity and knowledge make it more difficult to be deceived by less edifying images, concepts and ideas.

With this vast retrospective, which we have delineated for the animation film directed and produced in Canada, we propose a journey through the past and present of animation, helping to create a future which has already passed. It is also an homage to Norman McLaren, and to all those who accompanied him on this 80-year journey at the National Film Board of Canada (ONF/NFB).

A journey which united the world around those interstices, of that invisible which finds itself between each image and which is the essence of movement, of thought, of every individual’s freedom to create and build her/his own opinion, idea, movement.

Who knows…perhaps Norman McLaren was inspired by Saint-Exupéry, when he wrote that “…the essential is invisible to the eye”.

Fernando Galrito
(Artistic Director of the MONSTRA Festival)