MICA Student Work, Otherworldly: Stop Motion Puppets and Sets
Otherworldly is a stop motion puppet and set building course in the Animation department at Maryland Institute College of Art. Students designed the internal logic for the construction of fictitious worlds, linking shot composition not to individual objects, but objects in context. Students explored how material culture, scale and point of view can be used to explore power dynamics, identity, and mythology.
In the development of the project, I started to refocus this work to be more in line with my thesis work. The main character is Nonna, based off of my own Sicilian-American grandmother and my other older relatives who live on the island. The world is one of realism, where the viewer is unsure whether or not Nonna's magic is real, metaphor, or her own perception. She brings her pasta sauce to life, she can talk to her wolf, and her garden grows a little more than it ought to in the arid Sicilian valley. I'd like to show small vignettes of her life in and around her farmhouse, and capture the feelings of magic and countryside that I feel when I visit my own family there.
Noah, a young man adjusting to adult life, decides to throw himself a birthday party in his apartment. After a period of ups and downs with his friendships, Noah is secretly afraid none of his friends will come to his party. In the lead-up to the event, he spends a lot of time fretting in his apartment, decorating for the party, and waiting in anticipation.
Having recently finished their last semester of college, Bara and their roommate must now pack their things and leave the apartment they leased out for the year. While packing, Bara reminisces about everything that happened in their room and is stuck in place. The bare room’s bittersweet memories attach themselves onto Bara, making it hard for them to leave.
In this dark universe created for giants, a small murderer is faced with the burden of solitude because she doesn't fit in. Only she is not alone; she is surrounded by parts of her victims. Her uncontrollable urge to kill beats her longing to make friends and companions. She is struck all alone in her macabre house filled with remnants of people she would like to call her "friends".
This is a forest environment in which a lone traveler, “The Spice Woman”, has set up camp. The forest environment of the set is just a small slice of a much larger wood dotted with relatively isolated towns and villages. The Spice Woman travels between these communities, never in one place more often than once or twice a year, and carries stories, flavors, messages, and medicines with her. She appears isolated but is an integral part of a large network of communities. I’m interested in capturing how she lives during her in-betweens, the character of the land she moves through, and how she interacts with that land. The land is represented by a god of the forest with whom she interacts.
Jasper Jimenez & C. Ringo
The night after breaking his arm, Juniper, a young boy, returns to the woods and encounters the mysterious spirit who caused his fall.
Days. Weeks. Months. These words mean nothing to Anorak San Tonplas. Whether society
outside the immediate radius of his ramshackle bunker has continued, he cares not. His only
concern is the observation of the surface with his thrown-together surveillance system, on the
lookout for any sign of invaders. What is there to invade, you ask? The answer is simple: it’s the
one thing Anorak loves most. His restroom. His immaculate marble countertops and clawfoot
tub mean everything to him, and the last thing he wants is some stranger leaving his cushioned
toilet seat up. So, to anyone who might stop by his doorstep with a full bladder, Anorak has one
piece of advice: Keep walkin’ if you know what’s good fer ya.
A young Victorian doe-girl, dressed in her finest gown, finds herself at a stranger’s party. Feeling overwhelmed from the festivities, she slips away from the dancing and revelry to a side room. There, she entertains herself until the night is over and she can make a graceful exit.
Yav and Dreon were chosen to work together to grow into the new leaders of their planet. Thus uniting everyone as proof that all kinds can get along. But they kinda get on each others nerves so it’ll be a while.
Moving into their new home, a carpenter and upholsterer begin to reminisce about the past as they unpack their belongings. First meeting while on the job, first impressions of one another, their first date ever, the memories begin to unravel as they unpack and realize just how meaningful they are to one another.
Dahlia is a young woman living in the suburbs in the 1950s. She goes about her daily housewife duties in her brand new kitchen in her cookie cutter house. She is accompanied by her lovable, round, but rather ditzy pet chicken. We see Dahlia put on her apron, make and knead dough for a loaf of bread, peel potatoes and boil them in a large pot on the stove. She rolls out cookie dough and cuts out shapes. She reads her newspaper and drinks her coffee at the kitchen table. She wonders about what life outside of her kitchen would be like, but theres not much that is in her control. What can she do to change things up?
Little loner Aria loves the eerie quiet of the forest. On one of her explorations she discovers the long forgotten and run down fishing shack that holds an eerily beautiful well. Rummaging through the dilapidated structure she discovers a new found interest in the art of fishing. What she lacks in experience she makes up for in determination! She will definitely catch a fish… as long as she can manage stay awake to pull it in.