Jury Programme: Andreas Hykade
A circle with two dots for eyes appears on a white screen. “Hi!” it says turned towards the audience. “I’m Myself!” There’s the Myself discovering the mystery of the Universe, the Myself being shot in the back or the Myself trying to give up smoking. Myself is the face and reflection of the Ego; a series of short animated films, currently a work-in-progress by German animator Andreas Hykade. Myself is an animated interactive experiment in the manner of Brecht. Myself recounts stories, asks for help and here and there chats with the audience.
We have to prepare mentally; indeed, but only when we’re all assembled in the theatre with Myself, does it take us on an animated miniature expedition to the secrets of the world – this time it’s not 42 –, a kind of kaleidoscopic LSD trip, made up of clear lines and colours.
The animated world of Andreas Hykade has clear, strong lines and coloured surfaces, transitioning from the black-and-white shaded world of Ring of Fire (2000), a western about growing up, discovering and searching for beauty in pastel, yet uniformly resolute, coloured surfaces and stories. Always full of longing and humorous outlets, coupled with occasional doses of critical reflection directed towards the audience.
Despite all the friendly and pleasant imagery, the creator of the popular children’s animated series Tom & the Slice of Bread with Strawberry Jam & Honey (2001–2012) always lurks at the very edge of an abyss filled with darkness and frightening truths about the adult world into which sooner or later his protagonists descend.
The Runt (2006) is another simple story about growing up and discovering, claiming and adapting the so called real world of adults and responsible people. A little boy begs his uncle to give him the runt of the bunny litter, thus saving it from a sure death. He receives the rabbit under one condition: that he care for it himself and kill it in a year’s time. The round-cheeked ball of fluff on screen, almost symbolically radiating a clear and perfect blue, is in direct contrast with the orange-red-brown world of people. The story about friendship, love and responsibility ends with a truly ominously realistic twist. The bunny rabbit does not live to see the end of this story, which ends in an orange, red and brown symphony of blood and gore. And sees the boy enter the world of adult and responsible people.
It is this inexorable clarity of animated imagery that allows Hykade to manipulate the limits of structures audience members find understandable. With an excellent feel for rhythm, he manages to weave them into metastories of sorts, which provide critical insights into animation and society.
In one example of this approach, he skilfully pokes fun at the stereotypical Disney-like images of Mickey Mouse & Co., joining them into a unified mosaic arabesque in Love & Theft (2010). One begets the other and stays one at the same time, a whole universe of imagery in one colourful web of lines.
Just like the little kiwi, picking up one yellow nugget after another, hoping to reach the sun (Nuggets, 2014), so Hydake moves through the world of animation with his minimalistic images – images in motion. One of the author’s stand-out abilities is certainly his mastery of timing and rhythm. Nowhere is this more apparent than in his music videos on which he collaborated with the German punk band Die Toten Hosen, for example in Walkampf (2004).
We have to prepare mentally. We have to focus our fleeting glances, the seemingly dead, motionless structures of coloured lines on the film screen that is daily life. And suddenly – if we allow the music of cut up rhythm-time to intervene – they will come alive with all the fullness of a real-life fairytale.
Translation: Jernej Pribošič