Papercut Puppets at Villianous Valentines, Feb. 4-5, 2023.

Above is an image of a few of the paper puppets and dolls that will be on offer at Villianous Valentines this weekend at Eldritch Theatre in the Leslieville neighbourhood of Toronto. This arts & crafts show will run February 4-5 from 11 a.m.- 6 p.m. Papercut Puppets will have a puppet bundle available at a discounted price only at the show. Will also have a small number of my zoetropes for sale.

“Ouroboros”, a new short film by Jennifer Linton

SYNOPSIS

Ouroboros spins a loose narrative of joy, grief, death and rebirth, all told through looping images printed on physical animation devices known as phonotropes. Much like the titular ouroboros, a symbolic snake that devours its own tail, everything in life is a loop.

After three years — two of which were significantly hindered by my concussion and subsequent recovery, in addition to a global pandemic and various lockdowns — my phonotrope project has finally reached its conclusion with the release of a 6-minute experimental animated short film featuring four different phonotropes and original music created by my frequent collaborator, Zev Farber. The film is currently being submitted to various film festivals worldwide, and will be released online thereafter.

Ouroboros captures my ongoing fascination with physical animation devices known as phonotropes — a contemporary update on the 19th-century pre-cinema device, the zoetrope — which uses a record turntable and a video camera to capture the magic of the animated loops. Created during the various pandemic lockdowns and shot entirely on my smartphone, this short film visualizes perpetual cycles of beginnings, endings, and the inevitable reset of the loop.

Ouroboros: Tears, 7-inch playable vinyl phonotrope

A video showcasing my limited edition artist’s multiple 7-inch playable vinyl phonotrope.

The ouroboros is an ancient symbol of a snake devouring its own tail and represents cycles of birth, death, and renewal. Much like the animated loop, the ouroboros is designed to perpetually start, end, and then restart again. While the endless repetition of a looped sequence is commonplace in the realm of animation, a deeper and more profound reading can be teased out of these loops when placed within the context of the ouroboros, which represents cycles of nature to which humanity is inextricably bound. These cycles can include waves of pandemics that recur throughout history and serve as stark reminders that “history repeats” as we collectively look back at the past for models of how pandemics tend to play out. Cycles of loss and renewal can take many forms: the loss of life, the loss of relationships, and the loss of livelihood have effected the lives of many people during this current pandemic. Even given all these various losses, the seed of hope lies buried within the ouroboros cycle itself by virtue of its very design. With every end, a new beginning must start for the cycle to reset and continue, and it is this promise of renewal that offers hope. 

OUROBOROS:TEARS focuses on cycles of grief and mourning. The music on this disc was created by my collaborator Zev Farber. Interwoven within the repeating music loop of the soundtrack are audio fragments that recall electronic voice phenomena (EVP), sounds found on electronic recordings that are interpreted as spirit voices by parapsychologists (listen closely between 01:20 and 01:40).

This artist’s multiple is available for purchase in my Online Shop.

Experiments with phonotropes (part 2)

The first two phonotropes I’ve created for my current project.

After long last, I have finished the construction and assembly of my wedding cake” phonotrope, complete with all its various paper layers. In the rough, off-the-cuff smartphone video posted below, I give the phonotrope a quick whirl on my turntable.

Quick demonstration video of my vertical paper phonotrope. Music in this video created by Zev Farber.
Close-up of “wedding cake” phonotrope.

 The imagery on this phonotrope includes a twirling gold wedding ring, a hand holding this same ring, a snake that twists and turns into a variation on a figure-eight, and a weeping lover’s eye. Lover’s eye jewellery was popular in the late 1700s and early 1800s, when stylish aristocratic men and women often wore the miniature portraits depicting one eye (usually) of their spouse or lover. Typically painted on ivory, the tiny portraits were fashioned as brooches, rings, pendants, and lockets. The lover’s eye is surrounded by an ouroburos (a snake devouring its own tail, symbolic of the cycle of life, death, and rebirth), which ties back to the snake loop below (itself a looping infinity symbol) which appears on the first layer of this phonotrope.

I plan on building two more phonotropes, making the total number of phonotropes for my proposed installation four. Stay tuned.

Incidentally, below is a video of the first phonotrope in this series — this one prominently features a medusae jellyfish.

Phonotrope with medusae jellyfish, seahorses and waving seaweed.