Twisted History: Archival Photos Augmented with Surreal Animations

Black-and-white images and footage from the past, plucked from public domain collections, become absurd animations as moving elements are transposed on top of them in this series of images by artist Bill Domonkos. UFOs spin around a a curly-haired woman captured on film in the early 20th century, a running skeleton struggles to keep up with the camera on a blurry set of train tracks and television sets hover in Victorian living rooms. A fancy hairstyle becomes a journey into a forest, human eyes project beams of light and armless statues get prosthetics.

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The fact that the moving additions are so suitably tailored to the original images is what makes the results so magical, not to mention their 3D appearance. Simultaneously funny and dark, the animations – which he presents in both GIF and video form – are each strange and unlikely in their own particular way, yet somehow still believable. Maybe that’s not too surprising, coming from a man who shot his own version of Valley of the Dolls as a child with a Super 8 camera.

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“I view my work as a collision and recombination of ideas,” says Domonkos. “My process unfolds gradually and spontaneously – using found materials such as archive film footage, photographs, and the internet. I experiment by combining, altering, editing and reassembling using digital technology, special effects and animation to create a new kind of experience. I am interested in the poetics of time and space – to renew and transform materials, experiences and ideas. The extraordinary thing about cinema is its ability to suggest the ineffable – it is this elusive, dreamlike quality that informs my work.”

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The filmmaker and computer animator is also the creator of an app called Stereopsis, collection of 40 3D stereo images and GIF animations that combine altered archive stereographs and 3D computer graphics. You can get a contraption called ‘Google Cardboard’ to enhance the effect. See more on his website and tumblr.