Takeshi Murata is a digital media artist who is known for films he created with computer animation. He is one of the first artists to use datamoshing, a type of glitch art that is created by compressing frames in videos to make them look overly pixelated. He is well-versed in many forms of animation, ranging from CGI to manipulating and using defects in computer code to his advantage.
The first animation I watched was an excerpt from Murata’s I, Popeye. I first watched this without reading any context or reasons behind the work. My blind reaction was pretty simple: uncomfortable. It’s strange to see an iconic and beloved cartoon character go berserk, as well as be animated through computer graphics. After reading the contexts behind the piece, it makes a bit more sense, that the idea would be to point out Popeye’s grotesqueness, his failures instead of his traditional heroic qualities, as well as the sell-out society that he becomes a symbol for.
Monster Movie is beautiful and terrifying. As one of his earlier works, Murata takes an old eighties movie and “datamoshes” it, punching holes within the digital file and corrupting the code of the video. Apparently his goal was to reveal the “monster within the digital script”, but I find that the actual disruption of the code is the beautiful part. The monster’s silhouette, the soundtrack, and the length are the aspects that make the video disturbing. The pixels swirl and glide around like water or different forms of paint, but can be occasionally nauseating. It’s mesmerizing in a weird way.
Not going to lie, this one scared me. A lot. It got me thinking about the nature of the universe, and got me a bit existential. Each image would come and go so smoothly yet complexly it was like staring at a bunch of moving, digital, nuanced optical illusions. However, just because it was scary, doesn’t mean that I didn’t like it. His stuff is fascinating, it’s as if he’s able to open doors into different dimensions all through the manipulation of a digital file’s visual output, and then of course how we interpret it. Crazy.