boy in woods
Three large projections flank and envelop the viewer. Across them, an ink drawn forest pans into view with a small clearing at its center, occupied by a short tree stump, a pitch colored egg, and a young cartoon boy. In “Boy in Woods”, this scene reoccurs five times – each one separate but simultaneous. The egg bursts open at the boy’s touch, revealing new contents each time. In one instance it spills out an ocean, a giant crow in another. As the piece draws to a close, the screens bubble over with activity and potential until it is all finally and inexplicably hushed at the very end. There is no closure, no clear and definitive reading of the narrative. There is just the egg, its infinitely many insides, and the young boy peering within.
Boy in Woods is an animated, multiscreen video environment which explores a single but multifaceted moment from artist Greg Browe’s comic The Greater Storybook. The protagonist, the nameless Little Boy, happens along a pitch colored egg in the deepest clearing of a haunted forest. As soon as he reaches to grasp it, the egg explodes in a flash to release its bewildering contents.
This animation repeats several times over to display a different result of the exploded egg. Everything from hulking chimeras to steamwork metropolises to plumes of viridian fire spill out, and into the adjoining screens where they loop and simmer. After long, every composition in the piece bubbles over with activity, overwhelming the viewer on all sides. Then, without fanfare, it all ends precipitously.
Boy in Woods expands and complicates its parent project. It creates new scenarios, environments and questions which together contradict the sense of closure expected at the end of traditional animated narratives. Rather than relegate itself to a single stream of thought, the work opens into a vast delta of potential storylines. The impact of Boy in Woods depends on what happens to catch the viewer’s eye, and how they choose to rationalize the events on screen. Ultimately, the discussion of what happened with the egg is not nearly as meaningful as the experience of how it unfolded.
Project made possible in part by the
Directed and Animated by Greg Browe
Assistant Animation by Rachael McDonald and Laura Wargo
Special Thanks to our models: Alex Borgen, Scott Dickens, Katherine Morgan, Leo Selvaggio, and Valentina Vella