Homage to Airway

Status: Completed / Year: 2019 / Genre: Video Installation / Technique: Digital

Airway can be a reference to air travel and human respiration alike, but is also the name of a dog. Homage to Airway takes its starting point in a 1920s photograph depicting the dog Airway, who was part pet, part lab animal to two anaesthesiologists. Their tests on Airway led to the development of a device which serves to open the patient´s airways. The invention became known as Guedel Airway, named after both the doctor and dog involved.

The work also takes its point of departure in a sculpture created by Friedrich Wilhelm Wolff in 1847: a satirical bronze sculpture depicting Germany´s first experiment with anaesthesia, conducted on an old, blind bear in the Berlin zoo. In the centre of the sculpture, we see the bear surrounded by various animals. Clad in human clothes, the animals have features pointing to the various doctors involved in the experiment.

These characters are posited within a tale that takes place in two worlds simultaneously: The Garden and The Plot. We witness two virtual scenarios with a tangled relationship to reality – and to each other. The unifying figure of the work is Broken Face, a hybrid between a sculpture and a petrified console game character: a so-called `non-playable character´.

Animals rarely carry world history on their shoulders, but this work brings some of the overlooked stories to the fore and posits historical material within a contemporary setting. Similarly, these stories have been turned into images that take on a distinctive autonomy. Two important aspects of the film concern the set-piece quality of its imagery and the focus on respiration and breathing evident in its soundtrack. Based on this starting point, Gjerding questions how we percieve the world through the images we produce and surround ourselves with. Homage to Airway is about the status of images and how we live with, and re-code, existing images.

Script, Editing and Composition: Sophia Ioannou Gjerding
CGI and Animation (The Garden and Broken Face): Lars Hemmingsen
2D Animation (Surgeons and Bear): Kristina Stengaard
2D Animation (Dog/Charmeleon/Ox morph, Dog/Bear morph, walking dog and dog dreamer): Sophia Ioannou Gjerding
3D Animation (Trees, Chicks and Plants): Sophia Ioannou Gjerding
2D Animation (Smoke scenes, The Garden): Mark Tholander
Watercolor: Sophia Ioannou Gjerding
Voice (Broken Face): Aoife Slevin
Flute: Johanne Buus Andersen
Tracks, ORKI: 3rd Interlude and song: Nina Møller
Sound Design (The Garden), Recordings and final mix: Tobias Sejersdahl
Special thanks: Matthew Travers and Xenia Xemanak 

The Danish Film Institute, Stugan, Yonderplay, Nippon Nordic, The Animation Workshop, Nordic Game Jam & Arsenalet Game Incubation

DOCAVIV – Best Short Documentary , VIS- Vienna Shorts – ASIFA Austria Award For The Best Film In The International Competition Animation Avantgarde ,VIS- Vienna Shorts -Audience Award, Athens International Film And Video Festival – Ohio – Animated Short Award, FILMFEST DRESDEN– Golden Horseman International Competition For Best Animated Film , DOK LEIPZIG– Golden Dove Award For Best Animated Film , ANNECY INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL – Jean-Luc Xiberras Award For A First Film, AFI FEST – Grand Jury Award For Best Short Animated Film, ANIMAKOM – BILBAO – Grand Prix, MONSTRA Lisbon Animation Festival – Grand Prix, FOKUS Video Art Festival – Audience Award, GLAS Animation Festival – High Risk Award , MINIMALEN Short Film Festival – Best Nordic Film , ODENSE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL- Animation Talent Award , EUROPEAN ANIMATION AWARD – Nominee For Best Director, DAVID Di DONATELLO – Shortlisted , PFA – Piccolo Festival Animazione – Jury Award , Afrodite Shorts – Award For Best Animated Film , London International Animation Festival – Best Of Animation , ANILOGUE – Grand Prix – The Best Of Anilogue , POFF Shorts – Grand Prix, Seattle International Film Festival – Special Mention, Civitanova Film Festival – “Fango E Assami Award”, Rising Of Lusitania – AnimaDoc Film Festival – Special Mention , Cinanima – Special Mention , Manchester Film Festival – Special Mention, Bit Bang Festival – Special Mention , Riga International Film Festival – Special Mention, ANIMOCJE – Special Mention, Bucheon International Animation Festival – Special Distinction Price For Short Film, Primanima World Festival Of First Animation – Best First Film