If you watched PBS as a kid, Al Jarnow's animations blew your mind.
May 18, 2010 8:48 PM   Subscribe

Al Jarnow had been exploring time and space in his panoramic paintings when a friend suggested he try animation. From experimental films (Cubits) he went on to create shorts for Children's Television Workshop that were seen by millions on Sesame Street (Yak, Orange, Floor Tiles, Block City, Perpectives, Put Your Litter in the Can, Real Cats Drink Milk) and 3-2-1 Contact (Facial Recognition). One standout is Cosmic Clock, which speeds us through time much the way the Eames' Powers of Ten speeds us through space. Along with his collected works on DVD, Numero Group has released the half-hour documentary Asymmetric Cycles: The Work Of Al Jarnow.

Here's a rough cut of the documentary's closing credit sequence.

3-2-1 Contact
Charles and Ray Eames 1 2 3
Numero Group
posted by hydrophonic (8 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
Numero Group doing documentaries and animation collections. Awesome. Thanks for the heads-up.

Oh, Cosmic Clock should probably have a NotSafeForEpileptics warning from 0:39-:50.
posted by mediareport at 9:08 PM on May 18, 2010

Cosmic Clock was very interesting. Thank you for posting this.
posted by Hicksu at 11:40 PM on May 18, 2010

Oh my god, the Sesame Street flashbacks...

May I coin a new genre to describe his work? I want to call it Abstract Instructuralism.

More than half of his videos are meta primers on how to make stop-motion animations while still keeping the main topic in the focal plane. Block City alone must have sent thousands of kids on to become architects, and a few hundred more to become animators. Facial Recognition probably inspired hundreds of kids to explore computer graphics and printing.
posted by loquacious at 2:17 AM on May 19, 2010

Abstract Instructuralism


Loved these, I remember the Yak one from Sesame Street in particular. Hadn't seen the Cosmic Clock before, very interesting.
posted by harriet vane at 3:43 AM on May 19, 2010

The beach sculptures are quite cool too.
posted by harriet vane at 3:46 AM on May 19, 2010

I didn't know Al's name until very recently, when I learned of it through the web presence of his son Jesse, a Deadhead whose Frow Show used to just be a lowly podcast but now is on WFMU. I imagine that was a very cool house to grow up in.
posted by knile at 4:30 AM on May 19, 2010

Yeah, Cosmic Clock totally blew my little 8-year-old mind when I first saw it on 3-2-1 Contact; recently it became one of those "spend all Saturday on Youtube to find lost things from childhood" obsessions a while back. I had no idea he did all those other shorts, either; the 'cats' one reminds me how, once upon a time, Sesame Street actually just had cute, artistic, creative shorts once in a while, instead of all counting and letters. I was, however, hoping the "oranges" one was this video.
posted by AzraelBrown at 5:04 AM on May 19, 2010

This DVD sounds awesome. Numero rocks my face.

Geometry of Circles is my favorite Sesame Street segment ever.
posted by roll truck roll at 9:59 AM on May 19, 2010

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