Mediamatic Off-Line Vol. 11#2 Esma Moukhtar

Another Claudie Day

Claudie de Cleen

Could the girls get up first and put on their coats? As soon as the headmaster utters the word I feel a tingle in my stomach. 'The girls', that sounds delightful. I think he is in love with the girls, the whole lot, and I'm part of the group.

Girls are allowed to do a lot: go outside first, have short or long hair, skirts or trousers, play football and giggle, but later the score is evened, because they have to be beautiful and cannot be too smart. For ex-girls the deal simply sucks and the girls who are no longer allowed to do all kinds of things start taking revenge. Best is to stay a girl, or to still become one.

In the drawn world of Claudie de Cleen, both types seem to be present, and both play with their shyness and cheekiness in a most refined way, without being too calculating.

Timidly sexy, hesitatingly tough or embarrassingly fatal, with small moves they try to find a way to stand, to be noticed, to cause something, but what?

Girl's ways are very obtuse.

De Cleen has more happening in small animations: how a cow becomes a steak and when eaten by a human head it becomes a brain. There is really nothing surreal about it, that's just how it goes, only you have to see it.

At sunset a bird is visited by a mirror image that descends onto her back. A man stands completely still with a bowed head and a small suitcase beside him. Perhaps it is Monday morning and he is waiting for the tram. Or he is going on a trip, but does not know where to. At first sight, there is nothing that moves him, he is just standing there. Then suddenly his hand with a pointing index finger reaches for his ear, apparently he has an itch... and his head falls off. That happens too, on a daily basis actually, but we mostly do not notice.

De Cleen’s drawing language accentuates both the flat and the fantastic of cartoon and animation, in which whatever can be imagined is possible and is mostly also what happens. You can play with that expectation and answer it minimally.

De Cleen does not have to look far; daily life is packed with odds and eccentricities. A dark cloud hangs over every little thing to he who is not naturally in the world and for whom nothing is natural, and then later a bird descends on you. The sky always clears, but luckily plenty of clouds remain.

If you'd like to quote something: Moukhtar, Esmar. "Another Claudie Day." Mediamatic Off-Line vol. 11 # 2 (2006).

Translation: Nadya Peek