A Mind-Bending Remix of 1960s Americana by the Internet’s Favorite Animator

The Atlantic interviews Cyriak Harris on his peculiar animation technique.

The Atlantic: How did you find American Thrift and decide to give it the Cyriak treatment?

Cyriak Harris: I regularly use the archive.org website to look for interesting stock footage and inspiration. In this case the whole film had such a classic dated look to it and an almost sinister consumerist ideology, I thought it would be great to use the whole thing and turn it into some kind of abstract machinery and see what kind of weird landscape it would produce.

Can you give us a sense of what the production process was like?

The first stage was going through the footage to isolate bits that would be interesting to use, and then bring them into After Effects to work them into repeating cycles, cutting elements out from the background and experimenting with collage. The whole video took about a month to make, but a lot of that time was spent just trying things out — piecing things together to see what worked and what didn’t, it’s a very organic process and has very little in the way of forward planning.

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