• tinascahill

Reinventing stop motion

@Dina.a.amin Animator and artist makes her work from junk or 'Tinkering' as she calls it.

People have said that Dina's work is political, critical of consumerism and promotes self-empowerment... she says "because of my videos and become more aware of what they’re buying and what they’re throwing away.” The unpicking of the products she salvages is a part of the process of animation but Why? Dina says "At the beginning I was simply curious. Then, during the dissection process, I was amazed by the sheer amount of tiny pieces I discovered inside the products we use on a daily basis, like our phones, watches… I never imagined there would be so many!" (ref:

This process made Dina think about how easily we throw things away just because one tiny element is broken. It means we’re wasting hundreds and thousands of perfectly fine products.


Beautiful idea and I like the immediacy of her stop motion animation after my limited experience in it. Also the concept of thinking over a new character with the parameters of what you have collected - means more than recycling or being green. It is seeing beyond what is in front of you it is a bit like when people can see elephants in the clouds (this is called Pareidolia).

Seeing things in the milliseconds calls upon our cognitive processing power - Pareidolia relies upon this, and it happens before the conscious mind begins to process the information. This notion of the unconscious mind links to Rorschach inkblot test, where he tested the state of a persons mental health through the imagery they saw in the ink splodges. Not a very thorough test, as it relies upon the creativity of the person and the ability to 'see'.

Natural forms of “elephant rock” in Heimaey, Iceland, or a cloud shaped like Winnie-the-Pooh, or the furniture cabinet that looks like a face… are all constructs of our cognitive process to solve the visual clues into an identifiable object that our memory (hypocampus) can recognise.

Examples of Pareidolia can be seen in Renaissance art for example Holbein, Giotto and de Vinci who often used pareidolia in the faces of painting. In his notebooks published in (1923) John, R Des, Da Vinci spoke of the ability of us to "perceive the dots on a wall as a landscape, strange faces if you stare at the stones on the wall…". I like the natural formation link here - pebbles have been found to fool people by being identified as bones or parts of creatures, when it represents such things but only in our vision.

The use of Pareidolia in image recognition software relies on the recognisable features that have been programmed to be seen associated with types of people.

When we are working with a character the need to communicate emotion from our physical being to the character. If the character is a watering can, we want to imbue it with human characteristics, so we feel affinity with it, finding a visual language helps us do that and animators and creators of 3D art find the nuance in the expressions.

Illustrator Neil McFarland advises: "Think about the meaning of the word 'character'. You're supposed to breathe life into these things, make them appealing and give them the magic that will allow people to imagine what they're like to meet and how they might move." he goes on to say "Even if you're not someone who works in 3D, you can learn a lot by converting your character into three dimensions."

The driving force behind a character's personality is what it wants to achieve. We create an environment - some where believable. Sometimes the telling of a character's back story can be more interesting than the character's present adventures.

The narrative we create enables our character to live its best life, the storytelling has to create the life experience into a believable form. My example here of a Watering can ....What would make a watering can sad… make it happy? An idea for this would be a watering can left in the garden and overgrown… as it lived a life of plant watering with the little girl of the house and who is not around anymore because they grew up. The story could unfold by the rediscovery of the watering can by new owners of the house and a new generation watering the flowers….

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