Film of the Day: Drux Flux [2008]

[photo credits to NFB site]
[video credits to NFB youtube channel]

DRUX FLUX [2008]
Theodore Ushev

4 min 47 sec

Is there such a word to describe Drux Flux? I'll say this firmly: unfortunately, there is none.

Such animations like this almost attempt to discredit the definition of animation language: that the language assumes a representation of something. It seeks to break away from this definition and isolate itself from the wholeness of animation theory, into a fractured depiction of a new universe. If animation theory might help us with other types of animation such as cell animation, an approximate to live-action features, and marionette animation, a close to theatre art, there is a possibility that Drux Flux does need its brevity and thoroughness to exist.

Drux Flux resists this genre-enclosed categorical limitations and forms a new language, a new visual semiotic in serious fashion. To answer the question, why is Drux Flux so different from Spirited Away (2001) and Tardi drawing entails a careful remark of what form it assumes. This inquiry is filled with bearings: As to what style it is accustomed? How much accountable images can we draw? Is it still a form of animation or documentary?

After watching Drux Flux the second time around, i formed some intense thoughts:

 Post-Modernism and Avant-Gardism

Two compatible fields of thought, two modern trends in art which can elucidate and decipher the richness of the animation in Drux Flux. Post-modernism is such a high word to describe a piece of art, and it must entail a certain care and vigilance when using it One thing about post-modernism that strives to be defined: 'intertexuality'. Intertexuality it can be seen as a thought that rejects the existence of a 'grand all-encompassing idea' (technically called meta-narratives) to explain truths, to acknowledge a point and to support reason. Jean-Francois Lyotard propose intertexuality and recognize the importance of local narratives. This local narratives are not only broken down but significantly dependent on each other.

This skepticism on the 'universalised' ideals is connected to the rise of the Avant-Garde movement in cinema some decades ago. Avant-Garde is a group skeptical with the mainstream culture and arts. They form new types of art through experimentation and usually innovative efforts. They are the 'extremists' of arts that denies the norms and pushes the limits of their creativity to new heights. Postmodernism may have fueled this sudden rise in avant-garde films.

Drux Flux works this way. It is an animation of a postmodern thought. Notice how equivalent the drawings of the 'mechanical man', which will comprise a part of our discussion on the later part of the text, to the anatomy drawings of Leonardo Da Vinci. It exists with reference to other 'texts.' The usage of photographed buildings and other derivative works such as cardboard arts and grafitti denotes DRUX FLUX's supreme dependence on them. If the animator takes away the photographs, the Da Vinci-like drawings, the cardboard images, Drux Flux cannot function as a whole. It needs the presence of these elements, hence it defineds its 'truthfulness' as text through the use of other texts. It carries a title, therfore, a Postmodern animation.

Aside from its usage of other texts to define its exclusivity as an art form, it attempts to dislodge itself from the current trends using a bizarre visual and graphic almost a structureless expositions. it molds a peculiar style of animation, highly contestable and rarely manifested in mainstream domains. It is the product of series of experimentation with photography and cell animation, hence a form of Avant-Garde animation. But this is clearly not the first one to attempt such style. The overlapping of images, and eccentric graphic approach rather than filmic has been a standard for avant-garde animation artists since the 1920s.