For the 2010 Re-Imagining Orozco exhibition at Parsons Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Gallery in the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center, Anezka Sebek’s Parsons animation/media design class was commissioned to create a response to the Orozco murals. Sebek designed a six-week “Orozco Animation Seminar” to explore Orozco’s Table of Universal Brotherhood from a contemporary perspective with her students. Students were asked to imagine who might be seated at the table today, or if such a table was relevant in the twenty-first century. The result of their intensive collaboration is the animated short above, Re-Imagining Orozco: Table of Universal Brotherhood 2010. While the design process for the overall piece was a collaborative effort, each scene reflects the distinctive voice of the individual animation artist. A narrative of the film follows, as described by the collaborators:
This animation is an endless cycle that begins and ends with Orozco’s original version of The Table of Universal Brotherhood. To us, Orozco’s figures seemed not to be communicating with each other. We decided that nothing has really changed in the twenty-first century. There are only new versions of war, suffering, religious strife, and lack of clear communication.
We begin with the tearing apart of Orozco’s theatrical set. It is turned upside down as the original figures fall out of their seats. The book on the table flies toward us revealing the scenes of a moving table where a series of prominent artists of the world are seated, replaced by a group of celebrities. We then sink into a hot, hellish landscape where there is pain, violence, war, suffering, religious persecution and, finally, a nuclear bomb. The flames are doused with a gentle rain that falls from an “Orozco sky”. A table of powerful authors and other world leaders flips like a Transformer toy; the tabletop replicating itself and revealing new configurations of well-known figures, from prominent women to peacemakers, until all the tabletops explode into millions of tables connected through an electronic grid.
In the final segment, we focus in and find modern world leaders caught in a re-enactment of Aesop’s Fables, our tribute to Orozco’s love of myth. Satirizing a political world run amok, we witness Obama struggling as Sisyphus, Alan Greenspan and Ahmadinejad re-enacting the Fable of the Sour Grapes. The last scene of an endless oil spill blurs into the blank pages of the original book and finds us back where we began, at Orozco’s Table of Universal Brotherhood.