Animation film - 3D visual experience
Time Spy (2016) is a mesmerizing 3D animated film by Chinese artist Sun Xun (b.1980). A superb painter and draughtsman, Sun Xun incorporates traditional techniques including ink painting, charcoal drawing, and woodblock printing into his films. His masterful use of analog and digital technologies to explore pressing concerns of our time makes him one of the most compelling artists working in new media.
In partnership with the Audemars Piguet Art Commission, Times Square Arts presents artist Sun Xun’s Time Spy on Times Square’s electronic billboards from 11:57 p.m. to midnight every night in July. This project is a part of Midnight Moment, a monthly presentation by The Times Square Advertising Coalition (TSAC) and Times Square Arts.
A violin with wings flies through a sky filled with spinning moons, while rotating machinery gives way to strange landscapes and pressure valves. These chimerical images come together in Sun Xun’s Time Spy, a 3D animated film created from thousands of individual hand-carved woodcuts. Hundreds of Chinese art students assisted Xun in carving each frame of the film, juxtaposing traditional and analog illustration methods with modern 3D animation across digital screens in a way that turns the antithetical into the elegant. The film employs images of traditional Chinese themes like the five elements (metal, wood, water, fire, and earth) in a symbolic exploration of the nature of time and how we try to make sense of it.
Video and music by Jason Akira Somma