This sequence of 6 episodes provides pithy explanations of economic theories, narrated by the comic actor and frequenter of panel shows, David Mitchell. The script, whilst managing to be digestibly informative, also incorporates a sharp wit that comes so naturally to Mitchell.
The diagrammatical animation is simplistic. Some imagery and much of the movement seems reminiscent of comic timing found in Terry Gilliam’s Monty Python cut out animations. While the over all visual style seems influence by the RSA Animate’s wipe board series. The character and set design is fun and doodle like, bringing a pleasantly informal hue to the weighty topics.
Developed as a promotional tool to attract interest in studying at the Open University, the series seems to have attracted a lot of online attention, particularly from U.S. commentators who seem to eat up the ‘British sense of humour’.
The films are unaccredited but as far as I can work out Angel Eye Mediawere commissioned to create the 60-second adventure series. This isn’t certain however, as the production company’s website seems to declare involvement with only the ‘60 Second Adventures in Thought’. Either way the ‘…Thought’ series is also worth a watch.
Roman Krznaric believes that developing empathy into a more highly regarded value could be the most promising approach to solving many of the world’s problems, whether they are related to climate change, violent conflicts or inequality. Krznaric’s idea of empathy as a catalyst of social change is a powerful contemporary mantra. Both practical and easily envisaged, the concept of encouraging understanding by seeing through the eyes of your counterparts has the potential to stimulate a minor revolution.
Krznaric – Britain’s leading lifestyle philosopher, as described by the Observer – is the voice of the latest in the RSA Animate series of short films: ‘illustrated’ talks selected from the free public events programme the UK charity runs ‘which seeks to introduce new and challenging thinking’.
In this episode as in others in the series, our eyes are guided across a growing mass of illustrations which concisely depict a fast stream of ideas. At times the barrage of uniformed visual and verbal information can feel tautological. At other points, one suspects, if the visual aids were missing it could be difficult to keep up with the deceptively fast current of fascinating ideas.
The animation is unconventionally diagrammatic; it lacks motion, a linear narrative or central characters. The pen wielding hand rhythmically jitters across the screen as if filling a lecture room wipe board in double time. The arm is surprisingly un-distracting, keeping our attention in time with the allegro pace of ideas. The pen directs our eyes in rhythm with the narration like a conductor’s baton.
Roman Krznaric’s Empathy project can be followed on his blog Outrospection.