BY :: SPARKLY STELLAFLY
PHOTOGRAPHY :: TIM MOTLEY
A crowd of around 20 gathered in the theater at the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts (UICA) in downtown Grand Rapids on Thursday night to watch Une Seconde Par Jour (One Second Per Day), a film by Richard Negre, of Paris, France.
This 365-second-long film (hence the name) was made over the course of the year 2010. Negre drew exactly 25 drawings per day, which is equal to 1 second of film. Wherever he went, he would bring 25 blank sheets of paper with him—on the train, sitting on the sidewalk…and he never made any corrections. He wanted to capture each mistake, so he never tested the animation, either. It seems the only “plan” he had for his project was that he wanted one blank period and one silent period, both of which happened but not in a way that was obvious.
As the dates of the year ran at the bottom of the screen, the pictures moved throughout—the movie was “much more about the animation than the pictures themselves,” as noted by Chris Protas, painter and Curator of the Fire Barn Gallery in Grand Haven. The Fire Barn Gallery premiered the film on Wednesday evening and is hosting an exhibit of 150 of Negre’s drawings through June 30.
During the Q&A portion of the evening, Negre said that the film was inspired by American contemporary dance, and that was evident as the drawings danced off of the page. His mother was a classical dancer and he did aspire to be one, but instead incorporates it into his films through the animation.
Negre also noted that he enjoyed seeing it on the screen at the UICA. In fact he said that he “saw new things” in the film because the projection was so great. He said he likes to show the film in art galleries and art centers as well as festivals because it can be different each time. For instance, just before he came to the United States, he had a showing in Paris. Rather than showing on a large screen, it was projected onto an exterior window and was the size of (approximately) an index card. It became an intimate experience for those passing by the window.
Thursday night’s showing was not the final one in West Michigan. On Friday night, June 15, you can see this film, along with a documentary about the making of the film and an earlier animation film, Under the Staircase at the Grand Rapids Art Museum as part of their Friday Nights at GRAM series, which is free to members and just $5 for non-members. That event will be followed by an after party in honor of the filmmaker at Cygnus 27.
Also, be sure to take a trip to Grand Haven and check out the exhibit at the Fire Barn Gallery. It will be on display Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday from 12-6 through June 30.