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Work / Animation

Dasha Chukhrova’s hypnotic animation through air, water and space for Akwuar

Although set to the “psych pop” sounds of German musician Patrick Braun of Akwuar, it’s easy to imagine David Attenborough’s soothing tones narrating the journey of Dasha Chukhrova’s latest animated music video. Created for Lone Love from Akwuar’s EP, the video follows a small, starfish-like creature, with a single blinking eye, on a non-stop voyage through an abstract world of purples, oranges and pinks.

Based in Moscow, Dasha was approached by Patrick who had discovered her work via Vimeo. “He asked me whether I was interested in creating some visuals for one of his songs,” she recalls. “I was very lucky because there were no rules for me. From the beginning, Patrick gave me absolute freedom.” Dasha, therefore, turned to the track, allowing the feeling of endless movement in the music, its speed and flow to inspire the visuals of Lone Love. As Akwuar means aqua, or water, an airy, watery and cosmic world became the setting.

When creating the sequential scenes, Dasha describes how she was “following the feelings, changes in the mood and instruments. Sometimes I intentionally wanted to highlight a certain sound, characterise it and make it alive.” The main character itself was born from the first sounds in the song. “I don’t know why but these sounds reminded me of a star shape, it kind of set the [video’s] cosmic mood,” she explains. As only a character inspired by sound can be, Dasha’s protagonist is abstract and unrecognisable, yet still encapsulates the track’s aura perfectly.

Despite the non-representational world of Lone Love, Dasha has still managed to instil narrative within the video. Throughout the four-minute song, we follow the starfish creature as it appears to search for something or someone, shifting between worlds of sky, water and space as it passes groups of characters. These characters, too, were developed while listening to Patrick’s music. “I started sketching abstract forms that appeared in my head while listening to the song and later developed them into characters,” Dasha recalls.

By animating without a definite plan, Dasha built the story up around a few key scenes, developing ideas during the process. The result is a cyclical journey, the starfish creature bobbing along perfectly to the sounds of Akwuar. By utilising a camera angle usually associated with documentary footage tracking some creature deep beneath the ocean, Dasha’s animation is almost hypnotising.

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Dasha Chukhrova: Lone Love, Akwuar

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Dasha Chukhrova: Lone Love, Akwuar

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Dasha Chukhrova: Lone Love, Akwuar

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Dasha Chukhrova: Lone Love, Akwuar

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Dasha Chukhrova: Lone Love, Akwuar

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Dasha Chukhrova: Lone Love, Akwuar

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Dasha Chukhrova: Lone Love, Akwuar

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Dasha Chukhrova: Lone Love, Akwuar

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Dasha Chukhrova: Lone Love, Akwuar