The Golden Calf (Return of the Goddess)

Music: “Woman” by John Lennon (1980)
Everything else: Nina Paley
Another chapter in my feature film “Seder-Masochism.” Donate here: questioncopyright.org/sedermasochism

Exodus 32:
1 And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.
2 And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me.
3 And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron.
4 And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.
5 And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, To morrow is a feast to the Lord.
6 And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.

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Chad Gadya embroidermation finished at last!

After a little over a year and a half, and many interruptions, we finally finished our embroidermated short, Chad Gadya. While we were working on it (actually I was working, Theo was procrastinating) this other embroidered short came out, but there are differences. Thanks to Theodore Gray’s stitchcoding in Mathematica, we weren’t restricted by (invariably crappy) off-the-shelf software. This allowed us to automate beautiful iridescent stitches and preserve them from frame to frame, so the resulting animation really looks like moving embroidery.

Every single embroidered frame you see here is available for sale, signed and numbered and one-of-a-kind. Only 9 months ’til Passover!

Chad Gadya will function as a sort of “intermission” in my feature film Seder-Masochism, marking the end of the Passover meal but just the beginning of the Israelites’ trials in the desert.

Update: Theo’s post on the technical side of stitchcoding embroidermation.

“It took a while to get all this code right, but of course it’s crucial that it cover every possible case, because when you’re doing animation, it’s not about getting one frame right, it’s about having an automated process that always gets every frame right, not just once, but every time there is an iteration of the animation requiring a re-render of the frames. We must have generated tens of thousands of frames (just generated the files, not actually stitched them!) before it was all looking good.” Theodore Gray

Update 2: All the stitching files we made for this are Free (CC-BY-SA) at archive.org! Download ’em and stitch ’em out as you please. They’re PES format; wish we had something better, but all embroidery formats suck.

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The Exodus

Following the Ten Plagues – particularly the Death of the Firstborn Egyptians – the Hebrews finally leave Egypt.

Music: Free To Be You And Me by the New Seekers. More about that song and my use thereof in another post.

Exodus12-28

Exodus 12:28 And the children of Israel went away, and did as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they.

Exodus12-35

Exodus 12:35 And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment:

Exodus12-37

Exodus 12:37 And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children.
:38 And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle.

Exodus13-21

Exodus 13:21 And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night:

Exodus14-21

Exodus 14:21 And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.

Exodus14-22

Exodus 14:22 And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.

Exodus14-23

Exodus 14:23 And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea, even all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen.

Exodus14-28

Exodus 14:28 And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them.

Exodus14-30

Exodus 14:30 Thus the Lord saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore.

…..

The last beat is the desert, where the Hebrews will spend the next 40 years:

Exodus16-3

Exodus 16:3 And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of theLord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.

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Moses Goes Down

Here is Exodus 3-7, too much to quote here. Featuring the Burning Bush, Moses, Hebrew slaves, strange gods (actually goddesses), Aharon, Pharaoh, a staff turning into a snake, and sing-along phonetic hieroglyphs.
The introduction to this scene is “God Calls Moses to Mt. Horeb”.

Music: Go Down Moses
Arranged and performed by Louis Armstrong (with Sy Oliver’s Orchestra, 1958)

Unlike most other Seder-Masochism scenes I’ve posted, this one isn’t primarily parody; the overall message is similar to that of the song. I still argue it’s Fair Use, and transformative. Parody isn’t the only way to transform (nor is transformation the only criterion for Fair Use). “Go Down Moses” itself was transformative without being parody: it made Exodus into a story of American slavery. Creativity is complicated and shouldn’t be dictated by lawyers. LET MY PEOPLE GO!

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