LAIKA:Life in Stop Motion

MoMI welcomes LAIKA for new stop-motion exhibit

Photo Credit: Christos Katsiaouni / Museum of the Moving Image

The Museum of the Moving Image (MoMI) has begun its latest exhibition, “LAIKA: Life in Stop Motion,” which is set to run through Aug. 27, 2023. Housed on the second floor, the exhibit features the props and dolls used in the five stop motion films created by LAIKA, an award-winning feature film animation studio.

Inside the exhibit,  puppets that were used in the production of each film are found tucked behind glass for admiration. For a hands-on experience, guests will find a table in the center of the room that allows them to create their own “stop motion” film. 

The stop motion technology that is available for guests to create their own short clips was provided by LAIKA, and it is the first time anything of its kind has been made available for visitors of the museum.

What is Stop Motion?

Stop motion is a filmmaking technique in which objects are physically manipulated in small increments between frames so that they will appear to exhibit independent motion or change when the series of frames is played back. This process takes a tremendous amount of time to create a film — from start to finish, it is around five years, according to LAIKA’s Marketing Production Manager Daniel Pascal.

Pascal has worked with LAIKA since it opened in 2005, and was involved in the production of its early films — including “Coraline,” their first film that has since become one of their most renowned. Since then, the studio has released four more films:  “Paranorman (2012),” “The Boxtrolls (2014),” “Kubo and the Two Strings (2016)” and “Missing Link.” 

What’s next for LAIKA

The studio is now working on their sixth film, “Wildwood.” The voice cast was recently announced, and there has been no release date yet announced. Pascal described how the movie has an “epic” scale, and that they will be building on their success and skills from previous movies in the newest film’s production. 

“Every movie we have to learn a different skill set. For ‘Kubo and the Two Strings,’ we didn’t know how we were going to do long fabrics or long hair or fun — all the things you typically stay away from in animation,” Pascal said. “Being a full time studio, [you have to ask,] ‘How can I add to that box of tricks.’”

LAIKA is a full-time studio, working in a studio based in Oregon year-round to create different stop motion films. This dedication, Pascal describes, makes the studio a pleasure to be part of.

The Director of Curatorial Affairs, Barbara Miller, worked collaboratively with Pascal to create the interactive exhibit. 

“It was always our dream to have stuff here like it is, and it’s finally happening,” she shared. “So we are very excited.”

The exhibit is complemented by screenings of LAIKA films throughout the duration of the exhibit. 

“LAIKA: Life in Stop Motion” is part of the museum’s core exhibition, “Behind the Screen.” For more information on the exhibit or to purchase tickets, visit movingimage.us.

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