Amid weekly news of data breaches at big companies that can’t protect the personal data you share with them, tech companies collecting personal data you didn’t intend to share, ISP’s selling your personal browsing data, the pending demise of net neutrality, and governments watching your every click, it’s easy to take comfort in a warm sense of nostalgia for the naive teenage years of the internet circa 1996-2004. For millennials (like me) who grew up in the early days of the internet, it was a time when there was little the internet knew about us, little we knew about each other, and we threw ourselves and our hearts at it.
“Where strange and mysterious things happened, and deep meaningful connections were made across continents.” —Sean Buckelew
Acclaimed animator, Sean Buckelew‘s Lovestreams takes us back to this age of innocence for a simple love story born in a chat window (this month marks the 20th anniversary of AOL Instant Messenger). At the same time, Lovestreams‘ love story parallels our love for technology itself—from an early infatuation with its amazing potential to the slow realization of its lack of fulfillment and the bittersweet feeling of moving on—wiser, but also more weathered, than when we started.
Sean has been honing his animation style since his student animated film, Another, with work that includes sequences in the Zac Effron film, We Are Your Friends, and the Emmy-winning animated sequences of He Named Me Malala alongside S/W alum, Jason Carpenter. All of that comes together in the two years it took to create Lovestreams using Flash and After Effects and inspiration from Final Fantasy to Citizenfour (read more about his process). He uses an ambitious palette combining aesthetics from live-action to hand-drawn animation to painstakingly-recreate 20 year-old defunct software. The true accomplishment is that it all flows together so seamlessly.
With Lovestreams, LA-based Sean Buckelew proves he’s not just a skilled animator, but a sharp visual storyteller capable of weaving together very human stories based on our collective experiences with technology.
Lovestreams was created as part of the Late Night Work Club anthology Strangers. If you’re in to animation, be sure to check it out in full here on S/W.