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FROZEN WALT DISNEY RE-ANIMATED: MYTH INSPIRES 'HIBERNATOR: PRINCE OF THE PETRIFIED FOREST'

 

Antoine du Rocher

LONDON, 10 APRIL 2007 Hibernator,  a new site-specific work by London Fieldworks,  takes as its starting point the myth of Walt Disney­ cryogenically frozen at the point of death and put into cold storage until technology can bring him back to life. On this foundation, the artists engage in multilayered riffing on Disney's animate, animatronic and animated creations.

The artists have created an animation studio within the Upper space at Beaconsfield and, for the duration of the seven-week exhibition, are engaged in the making of an animated film, Hibernator: Prince of the Petrified Forest.

On view until 29 April,Hibernator claims as its inspiration the same novel as Disney's landmark Bambi film: Felix Saltin's Bambi, a Life in the Woods . However, the star of this film is Walt Disney himself – reborn as an animatronic chimera, grafting his head onto the forequarters of Bambi and the hindquarters of Thumper. (Animatronics has clearly reached a new level, surpassing even the Madame Tussaud's pole-dancer replica of Mickey Mouse Club alumna Britney Spears, complete with pneumatic breasts. Disney's famous audio-animatronic Abraham Lincoln simulacrum, who until recently shared Opera House space with an exhibit about Uncle Walt himself, was in storage at an undisclosed location and could not be reached for comment.)

The film will begin with the Disney chimera emerging from hibernation, and follow his negotiation of an increasingly unfamiliar landscape, far from the idyllic forests of his imagination.

Frozen Walt Disney: blue face
Hibernator: prince of the petrified forest,
London Fieldworks
Photo courtesy of Beaconsfield  

The animatronic chimera — constructed in collaboration with robotics and prosthetics specialists and set against a pre-scripted narrative and soundtrack — is the central element and subject of both installation and film. Activated by an environmental cue — solar energy—the re-awakening of the chimera is conceptually linked to natural animal hibernation patterns.

The live artwork allows the viewer to witness the solar powered actions of the animatronic as well as the artists engaged in the live film making process. The experience is completed by viewing the film as it unfolds during the exhibition period. As it is created, each episode  is screened in the vast Arch space that is annexed to the main venue.

Hibernator: Prince of The Petrified Forest was commissioned by Beaconsfield London, and is funded by Arts Council England, Henry Moore Foundation, Arts Humanities Research Council and London South Bank University.

Hibernator: Prince of The Petrified Forest
15 March -  29 April 2007
Beaconsfield
22 Newport Street
Vauxhall, London SE11 6AY
Tel: (44) 207 582 64

Antoine du Rocher is Managing Editor of Culturekiosque

Related Culturekiosque Archives

Once Upon a Time Walt Disney: The Sources of Inspiration for the Disney Studios (on view until 24 June 2007) 

Disney-Tishman African Art Collection Donated to Smithsonian

Daniel Edwards Sculpture Monument to Pro-Life: Britney Spears as Madonna With Child



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