The pure necessity
2016, single channel projection, 2D animation, stereo sound, 50 min
David Claerbout takes a distinct approach to the 1967 animated movie classic, "The Jungle Book," choosing not to retell the sentimental and comedic tale of a little boy abandoned in the jungle. Instead, Claerbout's reinterpretation strips away the anthropomorphism of animals and even eliminates the central character, the 'man-cub.' Over three years, Claerbout and a team of artists meticulously hand-redrew each frame of the original movie, constructing a new, lifeless animation that starkly contrasts with the lively and rhythmic original. The narrative is removed, allowing the animals to move through the jungle as if the story were spontaneously unfolding in their natural realm.
Claerbout reflects on the historical context of the original film, emphasizing the communal experience of cinema in the post-World War II era when people gathered in theaters. With the evolution of technology and the shift to individualized viewing on tablets, the sense of shared cinematic experience has transformed. The choice to work with "The Jungle Book", with its storyline of the strong aiding the weak, is deliberate, reflecting on the evolving concept of the individual and society, noting how the once vibrant characters now exist in silence, mirroring the solitary experience of contemporary viewers. Around 1967, the individual did not look anything like the individual of today. The individual was a single brick in the architecture of society, today the individual is that society, millions of them.