Snapshots: 6.05; Ross Hogg, manipulate Festival 2014, Review

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Ross Hogg (animation and sound)
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The Snapshots: 6.05 slot at the Manipulate Festival focuses on emerging new talent, showcasing the work of a particular artist, followed by a Q&A session. On Saturday evening it was Ross Hogg’s turn in the spotlight, introduced by award-winning animator and Shorts Programmer for the Edinburgh International Festival, Ian Gardner. During his final year at the Glasgow School of Art, Hogg had produced two short animation films: The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, based on the book by neurologist Oliver Sacks; and Spectators, which was shown this evening.

Set against the background sounds of a live football match, the animated paintings and drawings told a familiar story. Cheers went up and groans died away into muttered grumbles, as we viewed an anonymous mass of people in a sea of movement, and then closed in on the intimate communications of expression shared between the blokes in the stands.

Through pulsating visual rhythms and textures, this work delivered a genuine warmth and a shared sense of community and connection. It was uplifting, playful and fun, with some well-observed moments of humour and affection: the shrugs and head-in-hands moments; the pumped fist of elation and the exuberance of the man stripped to the waist, bouncing his flaccid belly about in the midst of the throng.

The achievement of this piece is all the more remarkable when we learnt, during the discussion afterwards, that the Glasgow School of Art doesn’t actually have an animation course as such. It is therefore astonishing that it has managed to produce such animation giants down the generations: from Oscar- and Bafta-winner Norman McLaren, through to tonight’s chair Gardner – and now Hogg himself. While admitting that his animation is largely self-taught, Hogg also makes it clear that Glasgow encourages its students to do whatever truly inspires them, making up for the lack of technological know-how in the level of artistic support (concept, style, framing etc.) they deliver.

Hogg rounded up the conversation with some insights into other work he currently has in the pipeline. One of the more intriguing projects he is waiting to get off the ground, consists of animating his 91-year-old granny’s memories of being a child in Glasgow at the beginning of the last century. These, and other projects, are waiting for funding, or enthusiastic collaboration. If you have either to offer, don’t waste the opportunity to add to this growing Scottish animation heritage.

8 Feb, 6.05pm only