A music video made entirely from wood for a song by bedtimes.xxx/music, WoodSwimmer is based on a concept Brett Foxwell developed while designing a new stop-motion universe where wood is the primary element.
The sequences are cross-sectional photographic scans of pieces of hardwood, burls and branches. It is a straightforward technique but one which is brutally tedious to complete.
After completing Fabricated, my ten-year stop-motion epic, I began to plan my next big animation production. Fabricated was very much a story told in metal, but for my next film I began to work with wood.
I became fascinated with the possibilities of a sci-fi world based on the alien forms to be found within this material that grows all around us. While brainstorming this world, I came upon the concept of the WoodSwimmer. This is a deep scan of both the material of wood and the time embedded in its structure.
It was a challenging technique to perfect, but once I did, I was able to shoot short sequences that move the camera through samples of hardwood, burls and branches. The result is beautiful imagery both abstract and very real. In the twisting growth rings and the swirling rays, a new universe is revealed.
As with stop-motion animation, it is difficult to keep from watching stuff like this loop endlessly on playback as you are in the middle of shooting it. It was a pleasure and an honor to watch this magnificence slowly reveal itself.
As a short film began to build from these sequences, I collaborated with bedtimes, an animator and musician of special talents to write a song and help edit a tight visual and sonic journey through this wondrous and fascinating material. WoodSwimmer is the result.
Edit & music: Conor Grebel
Typography: Rowan Ogden