Theo Jansen’s Strandbeest

A scientist-turned-artist, Jansen’s bizarre beach animals have their roots in a computer program that he designed 17 years ago in which virtual four-legged creatures raced against each other to identify survivors fit enough to reproduce. Determined to translate the evolutionary process off-screen, Jansen went to a local shop and found his own alternative to the biological cell — the humble plastic tube. (Wired: Wild Things Are On The Beach)

See also: Theo Jansen at TED and

Very Nice, Very Nice (1961)

When Very Nice, Very Nice was released in 1961, it was immediately embraced by the new generation of hipsters, academics and artists. The film is sharp, jazzy, confrontational and darkly comic. It announces itself straight off with opening shots of office buildings, followed by an off-screen voice intoning, “In this city marches an army whose motto is—bwah, bwah, bwah.” Those three blasts of a car horn burst the documentary balloon; rapidly, we’re shown two signs, “No” and “Buy.” Lipsett has playfully set up the audience, awakening them from their torpor of receptivity and challenging them to engage with his film. Marching bands, drumbeats, old-time piano rolls and jazz music highlight a soundtrack made up of a collage of audio material. Moving in counterpoint are visuals that range from still photographs of individuals, images of crowds, rocket ships, the hydrogen bomb and various iconic historical figures.(NFB: Arthur Lipsett – Focus on Animation)

Synchromy (1971)

McLaren took this equivalence of image and sound even further, and probably to its logical end, in his remarkable film Synchromy, from 1971. With Evelyn Lambart in the 1950s, McLaren had worked out the different patterns of stripes that would lead to them creating different notes of animated sound on the soundtrack area of a filmstrip. In Synchromy, McLaren first composed the soundtrack music using these cards, and then used these same sound patterns to create their exact animated visual equivalant. (“Every Film is a Kind of Dance”: The Art of Norman McLaren)