The furry critters and imaginative creatures of our annual Dark Toons program invite you to stare into the animated abyss for stories of uncanny family connections, a reinterpretation of Hieronymus Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delight, and surreal contemplations on human existence and our place in the universe. Far from fluffy, the toons feature rotoscope web cats, Wilhelm screams emitted from a school of fish stuck in a tree and psychedelic astronauts riding a giant space wolf. This year’s collection of dark toons plunges the viewer into the intangible world beyond our 2D live-action reality.
A Brief Spark Bookended by Darkness
Brent Green | USA | 4
A hand-drawn animated tale about love in an increasingly dark world.
Born in a Void
Alex Grigg | Australia | 7
A being born alone in a void becomes obsessed with it's own reflection.
Call of Cuteness
Brenda Lien | Germany | 4
Whilst we remain safe and sound, watching the highest grossing cat fail compilation all that is kept out of sight gets back to us in this consumerist nightmare. On a global playground, without bounds, the cat’s body is devoured, exploited and controlled its fear of pain being stronger than its longing for freedom. Objects are fetishized and subjects made into things that are quantifiable and ready for use. They are the natural resources of a luxury they will never know. We are here because you were there –and waste is dumped in the ocean. In the end, bodies reveal the causes and effects of power, pleasure and hate.
Jeron Braxton | USA | 13
A surreal journey through the dream of video game character who has been K.O. during a match.
Kangmin Kim | USA | 4
A father and a son both have the same big birthmark on their butt. Believing that the two birthmarks are connected, the son scrubs his father’s birthmark to remove it, but he just can’t get rid of the it’s trace.
Ru Kuwahata, Max Porter | France | 6
My dad taught me how to pack.
Anne Breymann | Germany | 5
At night the forest creatures gather to gamble, putting their innermost at stake.
Ton Meijdam, Thom Snels, Béla Zsigmond | Netherlands | 3
"Paradise" explores the religious themes of corruption, temptation and debauchery of the Fallen World in Bosch's painting - in a seething mass of chaotic severity. The creatures that populate the indoor playground embody the excesses of the 21st century Western civilization - from a horny Hello Kitty to a coke hunting penis-snake. From an incarnate spybot into headless fried chickens. Consumerism, selfishness, escapism, the lure of eroticism, vanity and decadence. All characters are metaphors for our society where loners swarm their digital dream world.
Jeron Braxon and Julian Glander | USA | 3
Plant Room moves a 360 camera through four virtual environments, each one increasingly saturated with technology and decreasingly populated by actual organic life. As a transparent eyeball, the viewer is encouraged to examine these environments from every angle, while contemplating the necessary trade-off and balance between digital stimulation and oneness with nature.
Julian Glander | USA | 3
Look at clouds. You're 12.
Jonatan Schwenk | Germany | 10
The dystopic drama “Sog” is about the cruel efforts of a people of humanlike creatures to lash out viciously against a shoal of fish that had unintentionally entered their desolated land.
After a flood, some fish got stuck in old trees. In danger of drying-out they scream sharply. Woken up by the noise, the inhabitants of a nearby cave don't feel happy about the unintended gathering.
Réka Bucsi | Denmark | 21
"Solar Walk" shows the journey of individuals and their creations on through time and space. Any meaning of action is only existent from the perspective of the individual, but never mandatory when looking at it from the perspective of a solar system. It’s about the melancholy of accepting chaos as beautiful and cosmic. Passion for creation is projected through the unique and playful texture of the animation craft itself.
Wednesday with Goddard
Nicolas Ménard, Manshen Lo | UK | 4
A personal quest for spiritual enlightenment leads to romance and despair.
Space Meow Doll
Avatars with electro loops, beats, live instruments and visuals in a fusion of world wide styles to create songs that have been described as sweet but dark, yet danceable. Space Meow Doll's work is inspired by post punk, rock, funk, hip-hop, Brooklyn, the relationship between Eastern and Western cultures, space, cats and sloths. Doll began performing in 2010 with the Taiwanese pioneer electronic band VARO, and formed her first musical project Space Meow Doll in Brooklyn. Her debut album Long Vacation in BK was released in January 2018.