15 December 2007

A website created by the progressively Christian public channel IKON, which I made a kickass animation for, was finally launched last week to quite some critical acclaim and media attention.

The site is and is quite unique in that it is the first time the two holy books are spread out next to each other on the same site. The place is basically a search engine in which you can compare which phrases and terms are featured in the text, and are encouraged to seek out similarities and differences between stories. This was a big project, so I was happy that when the IKON invited me to present an idea on a small animation to serve as visual support for the project, I managed to convince them of the benefits of having a more pronounced film. Because the site is all static text, I felt it was important there would also be a very strong visual presence with music and movement. They agreed and for the next odd two months I was working on it.

The result can now be witnessed on the site. Follow the link to the 'about' page, on which you'll find a redirection to the animation at the top. The quality is unfortunately a bit lacking due to space constraints, but the essence should shine through. The IKON was pleased with it and decided to actually use the film to close off the big presentation they had during the launch in front of an impressive audience of notables. There were priests, monks, politicians, professors... even the Dutch ambassador of Saudi-Arabia was present, and more. To have my animation presented to such an eclectic mix of non-artists felt exciting, frightening and strange. One couldn't glean anything from the reaction; which consisted of the same polite applause every item on the presentation had received.

You might ask why I happily went along working on an animation supporting such a religious cause. Knowing my history, that is puzzling behaviour. The answer is simple and surprising, however. I don't regard the animation I made as religious at all. In fact, it features very atheist, humanist ideas: don't be absorbed by your books, your ideals or your stories. Look at the person sitting opposite you. The books all say the same anyway. We have much more in common than what separates us. In my dealings with the IKON I found that they themselves are very much in tune with these notions. They're very forward-thinking, very openminded. Their new website is a testament to that. In the end I don't think the site offers more than an amusing glimpse into the two books; a starting point for in-depth review. But it is disarmingly straightforward and as such just might further the dialogue between two religions that have far more in common than they are different.

As for me, personally, I couldn't have wished for a more auspicious start of my freelance career as an animator. Good one.