This breakout hosted by VBAT with Marcus Lyall and Joep Beving was exciting from the moment we entered the room. Massive mountains of blank and imaged film were on the table and the floor. And an impressive arty toolkit was laid out on another table; ink, spray paint, bleach, knifes, pens, pushpins, brushes and funny stickers.
By Femke van Gemert

On top of this promising material, Marcus Lyall, producer of amazing art music videos and stage designs bands like the Chemical Brothers and many more, was the hands-on teacher in this workshop!

After a short introduction about the nature of analogue film, the principle of stop motion and the production of simple animations, Marcus Lyall made a quick dot pattern on a blank strip of film. He then edited it with an old school cutting and welding machine and directly showed on a big screen how this pattern turned into a moving image.

Turkish film fan

Meanwhile, Marcus entertained us with stories about his long search on the internet for the old mechanic apparel used in the workshop which led him to Switzerland. And how he found the cans full of analogue films in a small shop in London of a Turkish film fanatic. It is certainly not easy to get all this gear in this digital era. But Marcus made us realize that this was the way how film was made for more than a hundred years.

Pianist Joep Beving elaborated a bit about the gone by French-like feeling of the Zoetrope song from his album Solipsism, that he was going to play. Next, the participants were set to work on strips of film in order to collectively produce visuals for the music of Joep.

Crafts fever

Some started off with just a black pen, making fine controlled drawings, others soon got wild with scratching, punching and painting on the films. It felt a bit like being back in kindergarten again, making stuff for Christmas or the school play all together, on a tight deadline! A cheerful crafts fever came over everyone in the room. The feeling of What Creating With Your Hands Can Do was omnipresent!

After drying and welding of the filmstrips by Marcus and an assistant the result was shown on screen, while Joep played his beautiful Zoetrope piano piece. Immediately we all felt the mood changing towards a sort of gentle melancholy, with the buzzing sound of the film projector adding to the atmosphere. The immense visual variety that was created without any prior knowhow by all the participants in such a short time was impressive.

Next day we felt pride, when Joep played the song on the main stage while Marcus’ final cut of all our contributions was shown on screen. Wow! What Design Can Do for Music was experienced by the entire What Design Can Do audience, and received a big round of applause.

Femke van Gemert is a textile designer based in Amsterdam
Photos by Leo Veger