Free run


I animate a moment of Jack Ward’s Journey through the changing landscape of Antarctica over a year:



A long whine, almost a horse’s whinny comes from the ice
and at times strangely like a bird call.


These could be described as ‘animated annotations’, in part inspired by seeing Maria Kalman’s illustrations for William Strunk’s The Elements of Style (2002), and Simon calling them ‘visual annotations’.

Words have been used before as scores for improvising movement. Hanny Exiner, Al Wunder, Andrew Morrish, Barbara Weiss and others have used this method in their teaching, arts therapy and performance work. Using words are scores for animation is an extension of this.



Are these metaphors or metaphrases?

metaphor – in which ‘a …descriptive term is transferred to some object to which it is not properly applicable’

Metaphrase – (1608-1649) ‘a metrical translation’… ‘to render into other words’

a metaphrast – 1600 (Greek) ‘One who renders a composition into a different literary form’

(Shorter Oxford Dictionary, 1972;1315)


6 Replies to “Free run”

  1. Oh how I wish my copy of Strunk and White was illustrated. I had no idea there was one.
    “To which it is not properly applicable” such a harsh description is it not? Such a dictionary rendition of the lyrical presence of a metaphore.
    Personally I can’t see what it matters what you call it, the origional quote is so amazingly chilling but all this introspection and discection rather than going into the meaning of the words and the emotions those meanings contain holds so much more frozen water.

  2. There is sound, but I haven’t heard it yet.

    A young musician friend has been working with the words as scores for making sound phrases. He’ll be recording them next week and we’ll look at how they work with the animations.

    Dictionaries are harsh, and prescriptive.They do freeze meanings!

    I like the sound of metaphrase because it suggests shape and movement. I can have it mean what I want. Being a rare old word, it’s up for grabs.

  3. It is odd that there was such a discussion about metaphors because I think the animation is itself a metaphor about metaphors.

    I see the mobile dots as the excitement of new thought; thought in its rapid and amazing pureness, it has no form but you can see, and feel, that it is important and interesting and alive because it is so animated.

    Then the thought begins to take form and it is beautiful and like a landscape with all the intricacies of a landscape, full and deep and vast. But of course, this cannot be spoken, this is not ‘good enough’ to communicate the idea. It must be turned into language, it must be presented with the boundaries of accepted form.

    So, the lines, appear. These represent language, they are beautiful in their simplicity but the life of the original thought has been erased.

    A metaphor for the process of pure thought solidifying into a traditionally communicable idea.

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Posted on Wednesday, August 1st, 2007