Clyde-o-Scope at The Evergreen State College

by Jonah Barrett for OLY ARTS

As a medium, stop-motion animation has been around for well over 100 years, being first introduced by J. Stuart Blackton and Albert E. Smith in 1897’s The Humpty Dumpty Circus. A new stop-motion film, Torrey Pines, will be screened at The Evergreen State College on April 19. Clyde Petersen is the creator behind Torrey Pines, which premiered in October 2016 at the Twist Seattle Queer Film Festival. Petersen will also perform live music to accompany the film with his band Your Heart Breaks. “I have always been a fan of interdisciplinary art,” said Petersen. “I don’t believe in keeping the art forms separate. That’s a ridiculous idea for the most part. Films used to screen with live music all the time, we are just part of that rich history.”

While modestly-budgeted, live-action films must remain limited in scope, animated films tend to offer an imaginative director more artistic freedom. The price, of course, is the rigorous animation process of manually moving the camera’s subject one frame at a time, with 24 frames resulting in only one second of film. “I’ve been working in many formats of stop motion for several years,” said Petersen. “I like it. It’s quiet, slow, demanding. It doesn’t require as many resources as some kinds of filmmaking, both human and financial.” Torrey Pines is based on Petersen’s childhood. It’s a queer-punk narrative about a cross-country road trip with his single, schizophrenic mother, “fueled by hallucinations of political conspiracy and family dysfunction.”

In addition to Torrey Pines, The Evergreen Gallery will also feature a number of Petersen’s previous works, in an exhibit dubbed the “Clyde-O-Scope.” Ann Friedman, the Gallery’s curator, said, “I visited Clyde’s studio in Seattle, saw what was available and talked with Clyde about what might work well. Clyde has been very involved every step of the way.” The exhibit is intended to form a seamless continuity with Torrey Pines. It contains “sets from music videos, large format comics, paintings, giant zoetropes and films. It ranges from tour stories to talking about queer and transgender identity.”

Torrey Pines and Clyde-O-Scope will provide audiences the chance to experience the artistic expressions of a highly respected queer artist, an important act of celebrating diversity in these strange times. “I think it’s important for everyone to have a chance to tell their story,” said Petersen, “and for their story to be heard. This includes queer artists for sure. We have a different experience of the world. It’s important to talk about that and to make sure our voices are heard so young, queer people can feel like they are part of a legacy of queer culture in the world. When you have community, it helps fight the feeling of being alone. That’s important.”

What: Clyde-O-Scope and Torrey Pines

Where: The Evergreen Gallery (Clyde-o-Scope) and Communications Building (Torrey Pines),
The Evergreen State College,
2700 Evergreen Parkway Northwest, Olympia

When: Clyde-O-Scope April 14 – May 17
(Torrey Pines screened April 19)

How much: free

Learn more: 360-867-5125 | YouTube

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