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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