Animated Crisis of Capitalism

The RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) has created an amazing series of animated lectures that I hope will change the way we present difficult conceptual material on the web.

The RSA takes an audio excerpt from a standard spoken lecture and plays it over a video of a hand that is drawing related images and text on a whiteboard, using stop-action animation. The combination of the human voice, the intuitive images, and the brief text is so compelling that I never want to watch another lecture on the internet that isn’t presented using this technique.

The static drawings, which mix images and text, remind me a lot of the series of graphic books by Mexican writer Rius. If you haven’t seen his work (including histories of Mexico, Chile, Cuba, the PRI,  and biographies of Marx, Che, Trotsky, and Jesus), I managed to find this underwhelming image on the web, which gives some feel:

One-page excerpt from Rius's Marx for Beginners

Source: Rius, Marx for Beginners

But, what really works here is the way that the voice, animated image, and animated text work together to convey and fix ideas.

The first “RSA Animate” video I saw (via Ezra Klein‘s blog) was Ken Robinson discussing “Changing Education Paradigms.” The RSA site also has animated versions of talks by David Harvey on the “Crisis of Capitalism“, Barbara Ehrenreich on “the darker side of positive thinking“, and about ten others.

What looks to be a small, British media company called CognitiveMedia, prepared the animations for the RSA. Their website promises to post (soon) a document explaining the theory behind what they do. I’ll post a link once it is up.

Meanwhile, here is David Harvey:

One Comment

  1. [...] approach of comics to develop a more fluid style with borrowed images and collage. I’m not the only one who can see a touch of Ríus in the “RSAnimate” [...]

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