The pure necessity, 2016

Basel 2017
Sean Kelly, Esther Schipper
animation, digital video
Rather than telling the story of a little boy abandoned in the middle of a jungle, far from civilization, David Claerbout’s take on The Jungle Book, the animated movie classic, is a loop that culminates anew (every hour on the hour) in the final scene of the original film: the moment when a young girl comes to the edge of the jungle to fetch water. The exact one-hour loop turns the sentimental and comic story about dancing, singing, and trumpet-playing jungle animals (originally made in 1967) into a film that dispenses with all ‘humanization’ of the animals, and even with its human protagonist Mowgli. The animals behave instead in a manner befitting their species. Baloo, Bagheera, and Kaa, whose songs and slapstick acts have been delighting children and adults alike for decades, are now back to being pure bear, panther, and python. For The pure necessity, the artist and a team of 2D animators painstakingly redrew the frames of Wolfgang Reitherman’s prototype by hand, one by one, and then assembled them to create an entirely new film. Now devoid of narrative, the animals move amidst the jungle as if the story were of their own making.