Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared is a video short created by Becky Sloan and Joseph Pelling of the London-based THIS IS IT Collective. I found the video via a post on motionographer.com by Brandon Walter Irvine. His post interviews the artists about their experiences and aims with the piece.
Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared: http://vimeo.com/27003856
Brandon Walter Irvine was spot-on in describing Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared as “Black Swan meets Sesame Street”. The video features odd characters and a talking sketchbook in a room constructed primarily of felt. The sketchbook urges the puppets to “get creative” and suggests ways to do this. However, when one puppet begins to make a painting of a clown, the talking sketchbook responds, “Whoa there, friend. You might need to slow down!” This reaction seems odd from such an enthusiastic sketchbook, and makes you start to wonder what exactly this weird video is about. From this point on the video becomes increasingly odd and increasingly macabre, as the characters “get creative” with a chunk of viscera that resembles a heart. It ends with the talking sketchbook saying, “Now let’s all agree to never be creative again.”
The transformations of the characters were also quite interesting. At the beginning, the characters are puppets made of felt. When they start to “get creative”, they become computer generated 3D characters. Then they become life-like, each played by a masked and costumed person. Finally, the characters return to their felt puppet forms at the end of the piece. These transitions are very effective, with each form crafted convincingly and matching the present mood of the video. I had never given much thought to integrating such disparate materials into a single piece, but Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared does so quite successfully.