SD video, mono, 2017
Chuck Jones’ THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH (1970) was MGM Animation/Visual Arts’ first and final animated feature film. Released in the same year that the studio closed its doors, the film marked a culminating ambition for Jones’ MGM partnership, though received tepid critical reception and vehement disliking from the book’s author, Norton Juster. This period of time also saw MGM downsize after incurring significant losses from its ‘single big-budget film per year’ business model.
Good Night Chroma uses Jones’ adaptation as source material for a historical intervention. The video is a literal read of Chroma the Great’s celestial orchestration and imagines a world turned extinct at the hands of the film’s carpooling protagonists. An awakened and out of orbit moon collides with the film’s allegorical nature, returning the characters to an interim state of mid 20th century cel production. Jones’ studio, a casualty of short term expectation, can be heard clacking away in the background.