City Body was one of three short films produced as part of my joint Master’s degree at York University and Ryerson University. During my graduate studies I was especially interested in experimental animation, particularly “direct animation,” in which the image is produced directly on a film celluloid strip by scratching, painting, manipulating light and otherwise using the celluloid as a direct canvas. The direct animation experiments of Norman McLaren, Len Lye, and Harry Smith were very important to me. Why did their films affect me in a certain way, and to what extent did specific materials (celluloid film projection) or specific filmmaking gestures (hand-drawing and scratching) play a role in their sensory and rhythmic effects?
With City Body, filmmaking became a way for me to think about these questions in relationship to my own body and to digital filmmaking technology. Some of the insights I discovered or intuited during the making of this film continue to preoccupy me more than a decade later.
Unfortunately, both of the high-resolution digital copies of this film that I had stored on separate drives have been lost to a move and to technical damage, respectively — yet another important reminder that digital film is subject to loss and decay at least as much as celluloid film.