LIZACOMP 2 SCREEN
LizaComp documents the hand-cranked mutoscope animation of abstract graphics. Red, black, and white lines, squares, and circles meander about over a beige sandpaper background. Letters (Futura, all caps) slide here and there to form words which seem to be coalescing into a sentence, “LIZA GOT EYES FOR ME.” This is a brief moment in the vocal “The Champ” performed by Joe Carroll on Dizzy Gillespie’s “Concert in Paris” album (1953). Most of the song’s lyrics are virtuosic scat, a vocal “genre” within the revolutionary sound of Be-Bop.
The animation was made wholly within After Effects using solid overlapping color layers which slide, rotate, and shift size, opacity, etc. It’s totally improvised with no manual drawings, sketches, photos, etc. And the “narrative” is presented as a slippery sentence, which perhaps translates to “Liza likes me” but bears no relationship to the visual elements. The idea of adding music led first to the dynamics of percussive jazz, primitive gospel ring shouts, atonal modernism, but ultimately to Conlon Nancarrow, whose “Studies for Player Piano #2” (1948), performed on one of his invented instruments, contains rhythm and noise which sound good at any tempo, forward or reverse.
The “actual film” in the top frame was made expressly for a digital mutoscope built in 2011. It is10 seconds long at 24 fps, but can be cranked at any speed, forward or reverse, or held on one particular image indefinitely.