Now Playing! Jodie Mack’s Playfully Serious Animation

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 (Image: Jodie Mack)

Every picture doesn’t tell a story, or need to. The pleasures provided by avant-garde film -- impressionistic renderings of light and color, rhythms of editing, feelings conjured by conjoined sound and image -- have nothing to do with narrative. Jodie Mack, the London-born filmmaker and Dartmouth animation professor who visits the Exploratorium on Saturday afternoon, April 29, constructs poignant yet playful 16mm shorts out of shapes, shades and patterns. In “Unsubscribe #4: The Saddest Song in the World,” for example, the artist shuffles childlike pastel collages to an oddly touching female a capella rendition of "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?"

The all-ages show, Whose Line Is It Anyway?, consists of five of Mack’s shorts plus three vintage experimental films from the Canyon Cinema catalog, including John Smith’s 1975 pairing of a dry linguistics lecture with visual puns, “Associations.” The “Line” in the title, consequently, refers to the ordering of words as well as the basic building block of drawing. Mack cheerfully intersperses the movies with a variety of interactive activities, such as inventing new soundtracks, that seed creativity and strip the preciousness from art. The odds are excellent that your young’un will be inspired, and you’ll have a story to relate.