Hunter S. Thompson and Franz Kafka Inspire Animation for a Bookstore Benefiting Oxfam

The online book­seller Good Books donates 100 per­cent of its retail prof­it to Oxfam’s char­i­ty projects, which tells you the sense of moral “good” their name means to evoke. But what about the oth­er sense, the sense of “good” you’d use when telling a friend about a thrilling lit­er­ary expe­ri­ence? Good Books clear­ly have their own ideas about that as well, and if you’d call Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Meta­mor­pho­sis “good books,” you’re of the same mind they are. Hav­ing com­mis­sioned a series of pro­mo­tion­al videos on the theme of Great Writ­ers, Good Books show us the kind of read­ers they are by begin­ning it with an intri­cate­ly ani­mat­ed mash-up of the spir­its of Franz Kaf­ka and Hunter S. Thomp­son. Under a buck­et hat, behind avi­a­tor sun­glass­es, and deep into an altered men­tal state, our nar­ra­tor feels the sud­den, urgent need for a copy of Kafka’s Meta­mor­pho­sis. Unwill­ing to make the pur­chase in “the great riv­er of medi­oc­rity,” he instead makes the buy from “a bunch of rose-tint­ed, will­ful­ly delu­sion­al Pollyan­nas giv­ing away all the mon­ey they make — every guilt-rid­den cent.”

The ani­ma­tion, cre­at­ed by a stu­dio called Buck, should eas­i­ly meet the aes­thet­ic demands of any view­er in their own altered state or look­ing to get into one. Its ever-shift­ing shapes both chase and antic­i­pate the words of the nar­ra­tor’s loop­ing, stag­ger­ing mono­logue, com­ple­ment­ing the eeri­ly Thomp­son­ian voice with wave after wave of trou­bling­ly Kafkan imagery (at least, when­ev­er it set­tles into rec­og­niz­able fig­ures). Ani­ma­tion enthu­si­asts can learn more about the painstak­ing work that went into all of this in Motiono­g­ra­pher’s inter­view with Buck­’s cre­ative direc­tors. What, you won­der, was the hard­est shot to ani­mate? Prob­a­bly the one “with the teth­ered goat and hun­dreds of bee­tles,” they reply. Some fret about the increas­ing inter­min­gling between com­mer­cials and the stranger, more raw, less sal­able arts, but if this at all rep­re­sents the future of adver­tise­ments, for char­i­ty stores or oth­er­wise, I say bring on the goats and bee­tles alike. via The Atlantic

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall.

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