Norman McLaren, 1944.

Animation is overtaking the streets of downtown Montreal’s entertainment district, the Quartier des Spectacles. In collaboration with the National Film Board of Canada, the city of Montreal is presenting McLaren Wall to Wall, seven original video artworks inspired by the films of legendary experimental animator Norman McLaren. These works, three of which are interactive, are projected onto the facades of buildings in the district. The display runs through the end of May, and is in celebration of McLaren’s centennial, which is tomorrow, April 11th. (1914 was a good year for animation, bringing into the world McLaren, John Hubley, Joy Batchelor, and Ward Kimball.)

The interactive works, by Montreal-based artists and companies, are Phonophotopia, by Kid Koala and the technology firm Hololabs, inspired by McLaren’s film Dots (1940); McLarena, by the design studio Daily tous les jours, inspired by McLaren’s Canon (1964); and Diagonales by Theodore Ushev and the design firm Iregular, which draws on three McLaren films, Lines Horizontal (1960), Lines Vertical (1962) and Synchromy (1971).

The Baby Birds of Norman McLaren by Mirai Mizue

The linear films that will be displayed are Color.rythmetic by Christo Guelov (Spain), Co Existence by Lena Babadjian (France, watch the film below), The Baby Birds of Norman McLaren by Mirai Mizue (Japan), and Dix Annagrammes autour de Norman McLaren by Delphine Burrus (France). Also included is Panorama, a montage of clips from nine of McLaren’s own films: Synchromy, Lines Horizontal, Dots, Blackbird, Begone Dull Care, Stars and Stripes, Opening Speech, Canon, and Spheres.

For more information, including a map of the particular buildings involved, visit McLarenWallToWall.com.

And, in case you thought McLaren was Canadian by birth, his home country of Scotland is mounting McLaren 2014, a series of screenings and events celebrating its native son. Events will be held in Stirling (McLaren’s birthplace), Glasgow, Edinburgh, and across the UK from April 11 through September at various venues. Head over to McLaren2014.com for the full itinerary. A selection of McLaren’s NFB films will be screened at many of the venues, and tomorrow, a commemorative plaque will be unveiled at McLaren’s childhood home in Stirling.

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Stephen Persing

Stephen Persing

STEPHEN PERSING is a writer, art critic and blogger and (platonic) cartoon lover based in Connecticut. His writing has appeared in Art in America and the Hartford Courant, as well as online at McSweeney’s and Big Red & Shiny. His art blog and humor blog are updated more or less regularly. He was part of the team that executed Sol LeWitt’s "Wall Drawing #1131, Whirls and Twirls," at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art. For extreme thrills he has been known to watch Van Beuren cartoons and view Conceptual art in the same day.

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