Credit: Lili Boisrond "Oran"
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"Oran": the story of a fantasy journey

14 December 2023 End of study projects
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With "Oran", her graduation project, Lili Boisrond (Graphic Motion Designer, class of 2023) provides a poetic and delicate illustration of Marie Montezan's song about her family's exile in the 1960s.




Your project in a nutshell

We had to create a visualizer for a song. Visualizers have recently made a comeback on music streaming platforms. These are very short animated loops (from 8 to 40 seconds depending on the platform) that accompany a song, in the style of the animations we used to see on computer screens in the 90s/2000s when we listened to music.


For this project, we had to create a loop lasting between 20 and 40 seconds. The visualizer isn 't a clip, it has to convey the essence of the song , while matching the music at any point in the song.


How did you choose this song?

We had a choice of five pieces in very different styles (jazz, classical, reggae, French touch...). I felt connected to " Oran ", the song by Marie Montezan and Damien Delisle, as soon as I heard it. Being a singer myself, I'm fond of beautiful instrumentations and I found this jazz with oriental accents absolutely magnificent, as delicate as it was poignant.


The piece tells the story ofa family of pieds noirs forced to leave Algeria in a hurry in the 60s. It's a call to remembrance, rooted incollective history.


Marie's mother and grandmother lived in Oran. She grew up with this cultural and family heritage, but has never been there herself. The song recounts a fantasized voyage of discovery of this dream city.


1er tableau de "Oran" - ©Lili Boisrond 

1st painting of "Oran" ©LiliBoisrond

What was your creative process?

I imagined a collage halfway between a travel diary and afamily album.

I did a lot of research on old Algerian stamps, whose illustrations are magnificent. The stamp is the ultimate symbol of travel, but also of nostalgia, of a bygone era. I thought it was a good materialization of this emotional pain.


I also asked Marie if she could collect some souvenirs evoking Oran. She gave me photos of textiles and identity photos of her grandmother. I loved working with these identity photos. I thinkthey evoke the history of a family , but also the administrative side of uprooting, the loss of identity.


Marie also gave me scans of the notebook on which she wrote the lyrics to the song. The animated writing in the visualizer comes directly from this notebook.


In keeping with the scrapbook spirit, I added dried flowers to evoke Marie's grandmother's love of gardens, as well as old tramway tickets, photos and maps.


Vieux timbres algériens 

Old Algerian stamps

What techniques did you use?

For the digital collage, I made sure that the stop-motion aspect was a little jerky, in time with the rhythm of the percussion and piano.


The animation is structured in 4 tableaux: the car at the start of the journey, the oranges, the lighthouse, and the old photos that scroll by. To link them together, I created softer, more fluid moments, using shape substitutions.


As the memories evoked are not Marie's, but those of her mother and grandmother, I tried to materialize the sensation of a snippet of memory that's hard to grasp. I created fairly jerky movements, with elements coming together to create an image that evaporates, is torn apart and then reassembled.


The visualizer being the only project of the year with traditional animation, I wanted to make the drawings a little more textured. I used Photoshop to doframe-by-frame animation in large pastels to evoke childhood, scents and colors. I wanted it to vibrate.


Les photos d'identités utilisées par Lili dans le visualizer 

Identity photos used by Lili in the visualizer

What were your references and inspirations for creating the motion?

I wasn't influenced by any particular artist, but I did scour Pinterest.


I really liked the idea of a scrapbook that was a bit grungy, a bit painful, with writing and torn paper. I didn't necessarily want to make a pretty collage, I liked the idea of it being a bit strange, a bit textured.


3ème  tableau de "Oran" - ©Lili Boisrond 

3rd painting from "Oran" ©LiliBoisrond

You're now a freelance graphic and motion designer. What projects are you working on?

I've just finished a very interesting project, still in music. I've been invited to create videos forEtienne Daho's tour. They will be shown on screens behind him during the concerts.


I love working with the rhythm of music, being a musician myself. Once again, it wasn't a question of making a video clip; the video isn't the star of the show, it's there to accompany the music, in front of an audience.


I also worked on the post-production and art direction of a TV series theme song.




Where can we see your work?

On my website and on my Instagram account liliboisrond.




Interview by Sophie Jean

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