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Artist’s Notebook: Jacob Ciocci

11.17.14 Rhett Jones

ANIMAL’s feature Artist’s Notebook asks artists to show us their original “idea sketch” next to a finished artwork or project. This week, newly Brooklyn-based artist Jacob Ciocci, a multi-media artist, formerly Paper Rad and now working with Extreme Animals. Here he talks about his video album, “The Urgency.”

“THE URGENCY” started as 6 to 8 new compositions by Extreme Animals (myself and David Wightman’s performance/music project). I then started to work on the videos (at the same time as we tweaked/finished the songs). The videos were released first as a limited edition VHS on Thunderzone Entertainment (link). Then a longer, expanded version was released by Undervolt & Co. (link) as a digital download and/or DVD.

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The process for creating these videos is similar to the process I use when I am painting or making music: “make a mess, then clean it up.”

I have many different folders on my computer for video clips and sound files I have downloaded. In addition I have a massive “screenshots” folder and a massive “random text files” folder that I grab images and text from as well. I try to keep it all organized, but it’s impossible. there is something important about the disorder however, so that when I am sifting through my computer looking for the “perfect clip” I always find what I wasn’t looking for.

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I don’t know what the songs or videos or paintings are going to be about until I am about 1/2 to 3/4 into working on them. Obviously I have a set of ideas or things I am thinking about when I start, but it never works out as planned. I put two clips next to each other on the timeline and try to figure out what it means. Then I look for a third clip either on my hard drive or on the internet, then a fourth clip, and so on . . . I guess it’s kind of like a puzzle that reveals itself slowly, until every piece is in place. I try and make it work so that every clip/piece is necessary, so that no one piece of the puzzle can be removed without if feeling “missing”.

As I am working I am making notes on my computer and in my notebook. These notes are a “free and safe space.” Most of these ideas do not make it into the final project but may end up in a painting or a future song or video:

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Eventually I add text into the videos, as the story unfolds. The texts are often things I have written down in my notebook. Then I add animated characters to help carry along the set of ideas/feelings that I am starting to notice as I work on the videos. The animated character is there to help embody the ideas/feelings that I am beginning to shape in the videos. In the case of “THE URGENCY” the animated characters also transitions you through the different videos, culminating in a climactic ending that ties all of the videos together.

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When David and I were working on the cover artwork for the VHS version of this release, we passed back and forth “artwork inspirations:”

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Here’s the final trailer for “THE URGENCY” which can be purchased in full from Undervolt.co:

EXTREME ANIMALS (JACOB CIOCCI AND DAVID WIGHTMAN), THE URGENCY (2014)

“THE URGENCY” will be screened in its entirety at the Migrating Forms Film Festival on December 18th, 2014 and Extreme Animals will be playing a live set at Silent Barn on Thursday, November 20th.