Paper on Screen

It’s a good season for paper.

People still send out traditonal cards with handwritten messages. Children still make paper chains to wrap around trees. Gifts are wrapped and parcels are packaged, addressed, and stamped.

Even through digital media, paper evokes its tactile properties and brings to the digital world a hand-made, patient quality. Consider these two projects that we recently discovered:

The first is a beautiful film by Kelli Anderson.The multi-talented artist/designer was commissioned to animate NPR’s report, “Talking While Female”. The report is about the prejudices women on radio experience based on how their voices are perceived.

Anderson used both analog and digital processes to powerful effect. The paper here gives the sense of going back to basics, which gives the topic a well-deserved weight. The silhouettes force the viewer to focus on voice, while still adding another dimension of the speaker’s identity. Silhouettes, however, don’t allow for the kinds of prejudice or distraction that women face from on-camera interviews (i.e. judgment of features, hair, make-up, teeth, clothing, etc.).  The use of paper silhouettes also hearkens back to the Victorian era when the topics that women were considered authorized to write or speak about was even more circumscribed than it is now. This creates a connection between the gender roles and authority given to women in the early 19th century, with the lack of authority people still ascribe to female voices now. Paper and silhouettes also bring up the ideas of silence, of silent films, of what it might mean for a women to receive criticism based on biological factors out of her control. Rather than express her thoughts or statements verbally, might a woman revert to writing instead of speaking, or of recede into total silence? The handmade quality of the film, and the stop-motion animation, however, also speaks of tenacity and patience, which is, perhaps, what the women featured in the NPR report must continually employ as they broadcast their voices out to a potentially prejudiced listening public.

Anderson talks about the process of creating the film on her blog. You really must check out her other work, too, if you haven’t seen it yet.

The second paper-based delight we discovered recently is a new game called Lumino City that launched this week from a London-based studio called State of Play.

This game was three years in the making, and is entirely constructed by hand (and laser cutter), from card stock, miniature lights, paper, wood, and other materials. It’s hard not to over-praise the beauty and charm of this game, based on the trailer alone! It’s a puzzle-adventure game that follows a little girl named Lumi as she ventures out to rescue her Grandad. Lumino City is the sequel to State of Play’s game Lume, which won them indie raves in 2012.

We can’t wait to play this with a cup of tea nearby, and snow gently falling outside. It looks like a perfectly charming, captivating, and cozy game for this paper-appreciating season!