Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Disney: the Freedom of Reverence
Walt Disney's freedom was the absolute freedom, that which can infringe and even destroy in order to reach a higher degree of reality. As a re invention of the physical world in animation, it was, to begin with, a total liberation from the limits of conceptual thought, that is, the thought that categorizes everything into fixed definitions and roles. In Disney animation, anything can not only have life, but turn into something else. Take, for instance, the episode of "Melody Time" that is inspired in the music of Rimsky Korsakov. The melody played by the piano is identified to the buzzing and movement of a cute little bee in such a way that the sight of the bee, its buzzing flying and the sound are at one. Pretty soon, the keys of the piano themselves are moving around the bee, expressing the music equally well in visual form. Disney seemed to naturally identify the dimension of the visual and that of sound, (eventually that of touch, with the 3D real characters in Disneyland) as much as to transpose the roles of things and beings, to that of other things and beings. In that particular segment, the bee was buzzing sound; it was the melody and also the physical and "visible" movement of that melody. The keys of the piano broke the limits of their usual function and interacted with the dancing bee. They evoked the music as much as they made it sound and they moved to its rythm in interacting with the bee. Bee and piano keys became equally "characters", and equally music. Like the bee, they were what we see, what we hear and what we enjoy and are moved by all in one, as if our sight, hearing and emotion reverted to one single essence. Disney respected no fixed limits because he had a reverential view of creation. As the overcoming of one's ego, reverence is all comprehensive. Maybe that is why Walt said that he had no problem imagining that animals and plants (and even objects) had feelings just like his own feelings.