UFOs ★★★★

52 films by women 2020: 1/52.

Found this via nathaxnne here. It's always exciting when you find an obscure artist who's objectively important, because it makes it easier to sell them to people when you can say they were the first [x] or [y]. Lillian Schwartz's UFOs was the first computer animation made by an artist, rather than mathematicians or scientists. The editing techniques she uses are the prototypes of the ones used on desktop editing software to this day.

The possibilities Schwartz finds in computer animation are interestingly different from the ones artists like Michael Robinson are discovering now. Since "morphing" became the default thing for computer animators to show off with in the early '90s, the medium has been associated with a kind of plasticity, a way of breaking the boundaries of corporeality. UFOs is sharp and hard, a web of clearly-delineated shapes flickering on and off at the speed of thought.

It reminded me a bit of the more analogue flicker films made by Stan Brakhage or Claudio Caldini, whose film Offering made me strangely happy at a tough time last year. I don't know what the science behind this is - if there is any science - or whether it's a relation of the creativity-stimulating effects Brion Gysin famously discovered in his "dreamachine". But these films really do have a powerful antidepressant effect on me.

Graham liked these reviews