< click either picture for sound >

the Whale

These are some elements from an animation I started with David Kotker entitled "INSIDE THE WHALE".
If you click on either picture, you will have an excerpt from the soundtrack which serves as the base of the animation, and a visuel hint of the unfinished animation

David and I were introduced in a hospital in Amsterdam where he was awaiting a liver transplant. The people who introduced us asked me to make a documentary on his experience in intensive care. I could tell David had a bigger world inside and outside of him than this hospital. Since the theme of the festival was water, I suggested making a "mock interview" of him, first as "Jonah" and then as "the Whale".  David liked this idea, and even told me he had a whaling family in his heritage. (Now I wonder if that is true, or if I mixed up a story he told me with a personal anecdote...if anybody knows the history better, please let me know!)

We had to sneak around to find a place where we could record our sound. After several furtive attempts were stopped by the night watchman, we were offered an empty closet by a sympathetic nurse. In about 15 minutes we made the entire sound recording, an improvisation of David who responded to my prepared questions. I was very excited by his thoughtful and playful answers, and the ease with which he assumed his roles. His creativity was really at his command and the answers popped out of him with little pause.

The art is inspired by illuminated manuscripts of monks which I found in a dutch archive. Here is a link>


I have several minutes of the animation completed, but there is still much to do. I will continue to work on it as time permits. The soundtrack is enlarging to include a sound design by Karoline Heflin, who used a "prepared cello" as a base for her sounds, and a trombone player named Almuth who has also contributed spoken tracks and sound effects. Frederick Reed  has contributed some music.

I offer this demonstration because the simple interview gave me such a wonderful surprise, I wanted to share that with David's friends and family whether or not the animation is ever finished.


Merrill Aldighieri

David Kotker VIDEO >
participating in a footwashing rituel
on June 4, 2005.