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Heidi Kumao: New Quarantine Animation

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Stamps Professor Heidi Kumao recently shared her new experimental stop motion animation.

I started this project with the idea that I would fabricate a puppet capable of physically ingesting objects, processing them, and extracting them. I see that as similar to the way we humans internalize information, process it, and have a resulting external behavior or psychological/​emotional state. A vegetable steamer was an ideal object for this animation because of its fluid mechanical movement and because it was a terrific vessel to hold things.

The piece started with the simple (and humorous) idea that I would make the character respond to what was on TV by stress eating”: bingeing on snack food. I created the animation without knowing what the audio would be. When the pandemic hit and we were all sheltering in place, suddenly the character nervously sitting alone in her home watching TV had a new context. I had created an anxious character that was responding to something and the 24/7 coronavirus news feed was a perfect match. It was important for me to use the puppet’s excessive physical consumption to tap into the angst of our current situation and to use humor to expose the absurdity of it all.”

Learn more about Professor Heidi Kumao’s creative work on her personal website.