Captive‘s Pocko/Magma title sequence might just be the first title sequence created for an exhibition. A touring exhibition, to be precise, of Russian Matryoshka dolls customized by contemporary illustrators.
“The animation was commissioned by the illustration agency Pocko and screened in the background at each showing of the dolls,” explains Captive‘s Oliver Durant, who co-directed with Bruna Guerreiro. Durant says their goal was to influence the way in which people viewed the dolls.
The exhibition started in the Magma bookstore in London. The illustrations on which the title sequence was based were provided by Pocko-represented illustrator Kinpro, a.k.a. Chisato Shinya.
This is a good example of a project that utilizes the ‘format’, if you will, of a film title sequence. It establishes a mood, tells a story, credits the illustrators that customized the dolls, and moreover, it entertains.
“The title sequence idea was partially born from the title of the final exhibition ‘To Russia With Love‘ and the unavoidable connotations of Bond which come with this,” explains Durant. “We also saw a lot of character in the dolls. Especially in those designed by Kinpro, and we thought that giving them this little filmic narrative would give the show and dolls some cinematic presence. It was very much about each doll having a narrative of its own in the way it was customised.”
The Bond-ish title of the exhibition also triggered Captive to integrate some stylistic references to classic title sequences of Saul Bass and Maurice Binder. “Saul Bass was an influence in our use of symbolism and composition. The clearest example of this is possibly where you see the silhouetted trees coming towards the camera.
“We were provided with some illustrations from Kinpro. Not many at all. If you look carefully you will see a lot of elements re-used. It is this incisive use of design elements which drew us to reference Saul Bass.”
Bass remains a constant strong source of inspiration for designers. Why do you think his work is still relevant today?
“I think his work will always be relevant for its implicit communication of an idea. It also sometimes has a kind of chic humor, which we really felt was appropriate in our animation.”
“The Binder influence is the first forty seconds of the animation. This is an uncompromised homage to the title sequence of Dr. No. We wanted the Bond theme to be in there as it was the title of the show, we came to see the dots as representing scores of dolls seen from above.”
How did the collaboration with Shaeri and Masters, who composed the score, come about?
“The music was composed after the animation, but we had a very clear idea of how we wanted it to work throughout the time we worked on the piece. The collaboration was made possible by Adelphoi Music who are completely dedicated to their love of the art of sound production. We approached Shervin and he took the audio production to another level by working with Jamie Masters and Leon Dixon-Goulden.
Text and interview: Remco Vlaanderen, © SubmarineChannel. 18 May 2010. Last update: 3 Aug 2011.
Year of production
About Oliver Durant and Bruna Guerreiro
Oliver Durant and Bruna Guerreiro
Soundtrack composed and performed by:
Shervin Shaeri and Jamie Masters
Soundtrack produced by:
Leon Dixon-Goulden at Adelphoi Music