True/False Expanded: Jodie Mack & Dusty Stacks of Mom

What do you do when your family business is about to go under? Obviously you make a stop motion animation rock opera about it. At least if you are the animator/artist Jodie Mack. Mack's mother owned a thriving poster store business for decades, selling the pictures of musicians (from Bob Marley to Britney Spears), artists (Dali to the guy who made that photo of Pink Floyd album covers painted on the backs of naked ladies which was super popular in dorm rooms across New Jersey in my college years), and movie stars (Clooney! Clooney! Clooney!) in a pre-internet age when images weren't immediately accessible by the click of a button and digital printing/print on demand was yet to sweep the industry. Being that Mack's animations are usually made with recycled or redundant materials, a very conscious choice on behalf of the artist, it only made sense that she traveled to her childhood home to use the hundreds (thousands?) of posters who were about to meet their end, bringing them to life once more before their untimely deaths.

Mack set up scenes of posters dancing at their own will, moving collages of bright objects & faces cut out from the posters, her mom's dedicated hand written & high lighted notebooks of inventory, even her mom makes a few jittery stop-motion appearances- all crafted together in an ultimate music video that Mack sang along to live, her music re-workings of songs from Dark Side of the Moon, her lyrics telling the sweet, sad story of market trend, family, and tradition. Mack said she decided to sing along to the film live in order to save time in post-production but her live presence added a rock concert element that really made the film pop. The front woman singing in the shadows her personal lyrics added a layer to the concert nostalgia that these posters hailed from, Mack's witty, talented, bubbly, intelligent presence allowed the audience an even closer connection to the Dusty Stacks of Mom, and even to the normally passive interaction with film & technology- a very strong theme of the film. It is not a business or statistic that suffers from a market change or scientific progress, it is a person, an artform, a culture, the environment that becomes seemingly superfluous or forgotten in the name of "advancement."

When Mack introduced her film she said that she hates the term "trippy," preferring the idea of a "post-psychedelic climate" instead, the style of the LSD days being re-appropriated now as a response to the onslaught of new media with all of its bright flashing pixels of promise. But I do find it intriguing that a lot of her fellow art/film/post-psychedelic-climate artists all seem to choose trippy imagery & live performance (Erica Magrey, Martha Colburn). These artists seem to convey the concept of the new media circus by adding a layer of nostalgic imagery (possibly associated with their parents generation), mixed media (both classic & new), and their live presence to create a physical, tangible version of the digital rabbit holes we all have fallen down. Change might bring about the closing of mom & pop operations but it also brings about the creation of something new and Dusty Stacks of Mom is most definitely a beautiful new hybrid of sound, image, and heart that I hope everyone gets a chance to see.



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