Too much lockdown can make you forget to mind your own business as a neighbour. Some of us have become curtain twitchers keeping tabs on who's not sticking to the rules, who's flytipping, and who's playing about with the refuse bins. A sense of paranoia creeps in like some sort of Hitchcock film; think Vertigo or Rear Window.
Anyone who's seen those Hitchcockian classics will find the acclaimed auteur's sense of creepy atmosphere in a new animated short by Klaus Kremmerz. In Boredom in Times of Quarantine, which you can watch below, a young boy is stuck in his bedroom with nothing to do except stare at the four walls or out of his own rear window. Surreal visuals abound, the swirling focus on the face of a clown, which echoes the spiral motif of Vertigo, the lava lamp blobs which begin to resemble splatter.
While the piece is a personal project, Kremmerz's film is based on client work the illustrator produced last year for 1843 Magazine.
"It's taken from three illustrations for the article 'Dad I'm Bored: What I learned from my son's incurable boredom', by Mark O'Connell," Klaus tells us. "I had never done an animated short before, but I had a feeling it could work well. I wanted to try my hand at an animated drawing, and I wanted the subject matter to be topical."
"Therefore, in collaboration with my agent Dutch Uncle and Michael Lester of Beginners animation studio, we came up with the idea of making it. The three images seemed tailor-made for a one-minute short."
Sound designer Oliver Muto also worked on the project, working with Lester to compose a soundtrack "perfect given the climate of fear and claustrophobia in which we have been forced for a year now," as Klaus puts it.
The sound captures that Hitchcockian sense of foreboding, while the look of the animation has a textured, flipbook quality.
"The 'look' is that of my style, and Michael was very good about respecting my illustrative style. My work is retro-inspired: think 60's comics stripes, Charlie Brown, Mafalda, Tintin. Other artists my work has stolen from includes Kep Price, John Wesley, Raymond Pettibon and Wesley Willis."
"I really like the idea of a childlike streak dressing up subjects designed for an adult audience. It's like mixing the sweet with the salty; if you don't overdo one or the other, the result is always interesting."
Agreed; for an animation about boredom, Klaus Kremmerz has made something that isn't boring at all. Here's hoping it keeps you away from the curtains for a little bit.