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MAG’s ‘Melting Animals’ animated shorts activate imagination 

click to enlarge Ishu Patel's 1977 stop-motion animation, "Bead Game," is part of the Memorial Art Gallery's "Melting Animals," available to stream online through January 4.

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Ishu Patel's 1977 stop-motion animation, "Bead Game," is part of the Memorial Art Gallery's "Melting Animals," available to stream online through January 4.

Though the Memorial Art Gallery is open for small numbers of visitors to view its “Season of Warhol” and related exhibits, a new online program is available for those who may not want to venture away from home. “Melting Animals” is a program of animated shorts by a set of international indie animators, showcasing a wide range of animation techniques, including stop-motion, digital, and handmade animation. Geared toward younger audiences and meant to spark their imagination and creativity, the works are accessible to all ages. In fact, the blend of objects and abstracts moving in time with music may be of interest to adults who fondly remember watching Disney’s “Fantasia” as children.

Engaging elements of the natural world come alive in each of the shorts. In “Linear Dreams” by Richard Reeves (1997), a pulse forms the basis for a bumping electronic tune that beats in time with rapidly shifting abstracts that allude to cosmic and terrestrial scenes. With a whimsical soundtrack that includes humming and drums, “The Animal Movie” by Grant Munro and Ron Tunis (1966) explores the mechanics of human and animal movement and technological ingenuity that expands our physical capabilities. And in Ishu Patel’s “Bead Game” (1977), tiny beads are painstakingly arranged and rearranged to form ever-evolving creatures battling for their places on the food chain.

Now in its second and final round of films, “Melting Animals” is available to stream for free through Monday, January 4.

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