I made Reanimation 1 by extracting a 40-second clip from the 1938 version of Snow White – the moment when she's making a pie for Grumpy with the help of the animals and singing Someday My Prince Will Come.
The 1938 Snow White is animated at 12 frames per second, that's about 500 unique images which make up all of the frames in the 40 second sequence. I extracted and printed each of these images separately onto A4 paper and sent them with tracing paper
and instructions to 500 different children in schools around the south east of France. The children were asked to faithfully trace the forms within their image, whilst completely reinterpreting and re-imagining it. The resulting children's drawings show all of the variety, freedom and unselfconscious expression that one might expect: Snow White comes out pink, purple, black, blue, with stripes, spots, horns, wings or bearing patriotic flags – often Italian ones, since we were in Nice – it's a project made with the Villa Arson.
I then took each of these images and printed them back onto 16mm film, which allowed
me to reconstitute and reproject the film, having passed through the hands and minds of these 500 children. The result is a hallucinatory, quivering animation – which despite the great variety between each image retains the movement, forms and rhythms of the original Disney masterpiece. We are able to watch and recognise the film, the birds flying, squirrels fleeing, the horror on Snow White's face as she's confronted with her nemesis the Queen – and yet at the same time we perceive the passing of 500 flickering personalities.
The film was premièred at the Pompidou Centre, Paris, on 22 May 2014.