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Animator Peels Back The Layers Of Everyday Objects With Stop-Motion

Simon Gerbaud grinds objects to dust (and back) with his amazing and destructive stop-motion magic.

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We've seen plenty of creators who are able to transform destructive images and ideas into pure creativity: photographers creatively capturing explosions, a video game where you can blow up Jeff Koonz's highly controversial art works, and an artist who took a hammer to his own sculptures all rely upon that basic idea. Animator Simon Gerbaud destroys things like chairs, shoes, and computers in order to create his art, but he takes an incremental—rather than explosive—approach.


Gerbaud grinds his subjects to dust—similar to Keith Skretch's wooden stop-motion short, Waves of Grainbut he picks up the pieces a bit differently, reversing and reconfiguring his images into informative dissection sessions. A pile of dust rapidly comes together to become a laptop, forming the hard drive, motherboard, CPU, and other e-guts one after the other.

He used this footage, along with scenes starring a shoe and a chair, as the visual elements of an interactive installation he produced in 2012 for the XII Feria de las Calacas in Mexico. The digital sequences progress as the audience activates different sensors in each of the installation's three rooms. The chair sinks into a nearby wall as proximity sensors detect approaching people, the shoe evaporates in reaction to a microphone picking up high-pitched sounds, and two competing viewers can breathe the laptop in and out of existence.

More recently, Gerbaud set his grinding tools to a hair dryer, a set of plastic statues, a refrigerator, and a shopping cart, making equally mesmerizing videos—but with a little something extra. He meticulously grinds a white bull into nothing, millimeter by millimeter, but when the process reverses a brand new bull—with a black coat and mounted by a cowboy—is rebuilt. He does the same thing with a shopping cart, 'transforming' it into a tiny animal cage through movie magic.

saVer-preview from simon gerbaud on Vimeo.


These forays into stop-motion illusionism build upon the work of animation innovators like Jan Švankmajer to explore the essence of destruction. It teaches a lot about the inner workings of these objects, especially we never knew what the inside of a hairdryer looked like before (and had always wondered). It seems like this kind of destruction is necessary for human learning, but also it's just awesome to watch something be so utterly annihilated.

To see some of Gerbaud's less destructive work, check out his website here.


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