This animation “speaks to the everyday hero thrown in the midst of a chaotic virtual world”

Directed by Pia Graf with sound design by Mamiko Motto, this new animated short delves into the emotions provoked by an increasingly chaotic virtual world.

14 October 2020


It’s pretty safe to say that we currently live in a world of information overload. For most of us, we can get by blurring a vast majority of this surplus data out. We can close the lid down of the laptop, shut down Instagram for a few hours, put emails on mute. But what would it look like if we lived in a world where information overload could express itself visually?

In a new animated short Feed the Ghosted, directed by Pia Graf with a music score and sound design by Mamiko Motto, the collaboration explores exactly that. In the short, Pia, a Frankfurt-based animator, illustrator and visual artist, tries to capture the aforementioned feeling – a feeling increasingly plaguing our globalised, digitised world. The protagonist, she explains: “is a glittering everyday hero thrown in the midst of a chaotic virtual world.”

Flying fluorescent sparks and large morphing creatures work their way into the frame to visualise this “showered with masses of news and digital trash.” It’s somewhat stressful yet smoothly hypnotic at times, but then again, what kind of information overload isn’t? And for that reason, the animator chose to create something somewhere between “psychedelic wild trip and a nightmarish situation.”

Drawing on her love of old rubber hose animation when it comes to the style of Feed the Ghosted, Pia also looked to fashion, photography, not to mention anime and gaming aesthetics to inform the short. Rolling all these influences together, then adding a dash of kitsch and trash into the mix, the formal language for Feed the Ghosted was borne. It’s the result of approximately a year and a half of painstaking frame-by-frame animation. To generate the organic, liquid-like movement of the film, she first developed multiple animation sequences and then thematically linked them together.


Pia Graf and Mamiko Motto: Feed the Ghosted (Copyright © Pia Graf and Mamiko Motto, 2020)

All this time, Mamiko was busy working on the film’s score and sound design. On the project, she tells us, “animation is my absolute favourite thing to work on. It allows me to really have fun and be the small child that I am, but deep in my work.” Injecting a sense of playfulness into each and every project, Mamiko’s sound design has a metallic, clashing and harsh temperament. Imagining what the robots in the short were made of, her score echoes a hardness of materiality and an apt element of industrialisation. This weightiness offsets the bright colours and “sweet aesthetic”, Mamiko explains, “which would help to reflect a deeper meaning of what the animation is really about.”

The collaboration started with an unlikely source who also happens to be a fellow It’s Nice That favourite. Eike König united the two creatives after suitably realising their work would compliment one another. Shortly after, animator and sound designer Facetimed, discovering that “the vibe was right.” And after bouncing ideas back and forth, the final visuals and score came to life. “We ended up with this animation and a friendship that is here to last a lifetime. Win win,” says Mamiko.

With creative freedom at the heart of this project, Feed the Ghosted is testament to how sound and image can come together in harmony while being separate creative entities in their own right. Not only that, it’s an immersive insight into a psychedelic world and an exploration into the corporality effected through media consumption. “How is identity formation changing in the digitised world?” questions Pia, “Can we distinguish between what is true and fake?” Well, now you can dive into these topics for yourself by watching Feed the Ghosted.

GalleryPia Graf and Mamiko Motto: Feed the Ghosted (Copyright © Pia Graf and Mamiko Motto, 2020)

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Pia Graf and Mamiko Motto: Feed the Ghosted (Copyright © Pia Graf and Mamiko Motto, 2020)

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About the Author

Jyni Ong

Jyni joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in August 2018 after graduating from The Glasgow School of Art’s Communication Design degree. In March 2019 she became a staff writer and in June 2021, she was made associate editor.

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