The Art of Poetry Film with Cheryl Gross: “The Clinic”

The Clinic (Kliniken)
poem and voiceover: Annelie Axén
design and animation: Kristian Pedersen
produced by Gasspedal Animert
2010

One of my least favorite activities when I was a child was visiting the dentist. It was a major cause of anxiety. However, there is something about The Clinic that addresses this discomfort in a unique and bizarre way.

Despite my deep love for nostalgia and the fact that I lean left-of-center concerning my taste in entertainment, The Clinic kicked up memories that were not pleasant. Reminiscing about the dentist is not exactly what I call a good time and the sound of drilling puts me over the edge. Despite my discomfort, there is no doubt that it’s a great video. The visuals are clever and fit right in. I am particularly fond of the teeth x-rays, the distressed film look and the brilliant use of typography and Adobe After Effects.

The Clinic uses teeth as a metaphor. From the beginning, we are made to feel as if we are about to encounter impending doom and are made to feel nervous. We are coldly asked questions that feed into our fears and anxiety. There is no comfort offered, just more questions. Eventually it is revealed that we are just a number. As the toothless grind their jaws, perhaps the antidote to the uneasiness we feel is the white powder with our information on it.

The Clinic in my opinion is a very successful, Orwellian piece. Not only does it get the message across, but it creeps me out. Seeing the work is feeling it and again, and at the end of the day this is what matters most. It’s traditionally been said that great art should evoke powerful emotions, and by that standard, The Clinic certainly qualifies as great art.

Cheryl Gross

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Cheryl Gross (website, blog) is an illustrator, painter, writer, and motion graphic artist living and working in the New York/Jersey City area. She is a professor at Pratt Institute (where she received her MFA) and Bloomfield College. Her work has appeared in numerous festivals and publications as well as gracing the walls of many galleries, corporate and museum collections. “I equate my work with creating and building an environment, transforming my inner thoughts into reality. Beginning with the physical process, I work in layers. I am involved in solving visual and verbal complexities such as design and narrative. My urban influence has indeed added an ‘edge’ to my work.” Cheryl has often been compared to “Dr. Seuss on crack.”

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