Friday, May 28, 2010
Loving Celestial Navigations, the new Numero Group DVD of Al Jarnow's short animated films for PBS in the 70s and 80s. My sister and I watched a lot of Sesame Street and 3-2-1 Contact when we were kids, so a lot of these films are permanently etched into my brain. I remember the spinning geometric shapes, the building blocks and stones with minds of their own, and especially the disturbing time-lapse flash-forward and buckling tectonic plates of "Cosmic Zoom," my favorite of Jarnow's films and the one pictured on the DVD sleeve. I have such visceral memories of sitting in a huge cardboard box filled with toys (my preferred place for TV watching) and losing myself completely in the world of these films. It turns out Jarnow was the genius behind all of it. His weird visual lessons about shapes, geometry, change over time, landscape and...orange juice have been working away at my subconscious for years now, so it's nice to finally be able to put a name and face on the ideas (also nice that he seems to be a very unassuming, interesting guy). Tom Perri's electronic music accompanies many of the films and is also totally amazing. Brings me right back to the era of huge clunky Apple II computers. Here are two of my favorite films. If you are like me, you remember these things much better than you think you do.