Watch The New America, a Stop Motion Animation Starring 800+ Laser Engraved Wood Blocks

A Pacif­ic North­west artist becomes infat­u­at­ed with the process of laser engrav­ing wood and hatch­es a plan for a stop motion ani­ma­tion fea­tur­ing hun­dreds of engraved maple blocks that can lat­er be mailed as rewards to his pro­jec­t’s Kick­starter donors.

Fans of the tele­vi­sion show Port­landia may find them­selves expe­ri­enc­ing a false sense of deja vu. Remark­ably, Nan­do Cos­ta is not the inven­tion of come­di­an Fred Armisen. He’s a real per­son, and two years ago, whilst liv­ing in Port­land, he glee­ful­ly embarked on what proved to be a very ambi­tious and time-con­sum­ing project.

The sort of project a guy with his skills and expe­ri­ence could have knocked out in a cou­ple of months had the cho­sen mate­ri­als been mag­ic mark­ers or clay.

Two years and some 800 wood blocks lat­er, The New Amer­i­ca is final­ly avail­able for view­ing, all two min­utes and 37 sec­onds of it. Cos­ta describes the abstract sto­ry­line as “a union between con­cepts and exper­i­ments born dur­ing the Sit­u­a­tion­ist move­ment and real life events expe­ri­enced dur­ing the last few years in Amer­i­can soci­ety. Par­tic­u­lar­ly the dual­i­ty between the eco­nom­ic down­turn and the shift in val­ues and beliefs of many cit­i­zens.”

In oth­er words, it’s unlike­ly to cap­ture the pub­lic’s imag­i­na­tion in the same way as Worst Twerk Fail EVER — Girl Catch­es Fire!

Respond­ing to well wishers—many of whom backed the project on Kickstarter—Costa is gracious…and exhaust­ed.

“It was a lot of hard work and stress,” he tells one admir­er in the com­ments sec­tion of his vimeo chan­nel, adding that more plan­ning would go into any future efforts. Despite his suc­cess­ful Kick­starter cam­paign the project went way over bud­get, and his wife was not thrilled to be shar­ing her home with all those 8 x 4.5 inch maple pan­els. (A few of them are avail­able for pur­chase on etsy, but it’s artist’s choice. Remem­ber what hap­pened when Bart Simp­son stole his dad’s cred­it card to order a gen­uine Itchy and Scratchy ani­ma­tion cel off the Impulse Buy­ing Net­work.)

For now, Cos­ta is con­tent to focus on a new job and set­tling into a new house after a recent move to Seat­tle. After that, per­haps an ani­ma­tion that would involve laser-cut paper, but that, he says, would require research.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

“The Peri­od­ic Table Table” — All The Ele­ments in Hand-Carved Wood

Vin­tage Footage of Picas­so and Jack­son Pol­lock Paint­ing … Through Glass

Watch Cab­bit: A Hand­made Ani­ma­tion by Cross­hatch Artist, Soo­gie

Ayun Hal­l­i­day dreams of ani­mat­ing some­thing or oth­er with dry erase mark­ers one of these days. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday

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