Size: 263.72 MB


Keys is a collaborative interactive project that celebrates music and animation’s shared 19th century origins. The wall mounted 16 ft. long interactive work features a looping 18 second animation set to a five minute musical accompaniment* with both record and film reel spinning side by side at 33 1/3 rpm. The engineering design of Keys draws heavily from Reynaud’s Théâtre Optique with modifications that allow for the animation to loop continuously, and for the film to be projected onto the face of a defunct smartphone to connect with modern audiences.

*note - in most exhibition instances, audio is experienced through headphones

Dan Hale, MFA

Dan Hale tells stories through the mediums of animation, film, and photography, and is an Assistant Professor of Animation at UNC Greensboro. Dan holds a BA in Media Studies: Moving Image and Sound Production from UNC Greensboro (2001) and an AAS in Photographic Technology: Photojournalism from Randolph Community College (2005). In 2019, he received an MFA in Digital Production Arts from Clemson University where he was honored with the Ollie Johnson Excellence in Animation Award and was accepted into Upsilon Pi Epsilon, the International Honor Society for Computing and Information Disciplines. Since returning to UNCG in 2020 he has been building the curriculum to form the foundation of the new BFA concentration in Animation in the School of Art that launched in the fall of 2022.

His favorite album is London Calling by The Clash, and his favorite animation is the Thomas Mann Baynes designed phenakistoscope Cat & Bird.

From filmmaking to photography to animation, my work as a visual storyteller has evolved through a series of mediums over the past two decades. Utilizing my skill as a keen observer, the works balance criticism, cynicism, humor, and hope to reflect upon our collective experience. Most recently, inspired by research into nineteenth-century optical toys, I began exploring the idea of bringing digital 3D animation back into physical 3D space to create a visceral connection between the viewer and the experience.

Visual artists Vivian Meyer, Spike Lee, Steve Cutts, and Eric Drooker, along with musicians Sam Cooke, Joe Strummer, Boots Riley, and Joan Jett, as well as my family, friends, and the person I met yesterday in the supermarket checkout line have all inspired me in ways both large and small. My current open browser tabs are focused on the work of other artists working in physical animation and kinetic sculpture, namely Eric Dyer, Mat Collishaw, and Gregory Barsamian.

Annie Jeng, DMA

Hailed for her “brilliant pianism” (Gramophone) and “acrobatic” performances (Take Effect), Taiwanese-American pianist Annie Jeng has performed widely as a solo and chamber musician and as an advocate for living composers, has commissioned and premiered dozens of new works. She is the pianist of Khemia Ensemble (, a contemporary chamber ensemble that is dedicated to promoting contemporary classical music by cultivating inclusive place-making, collaborative mentorships, and authentic storytelling through immersive, multimedia performances. She is the current President of Greensboro Music Teachers Association (GMTA) and serves on the board for the North Carolina Music Teachers Association (NCMTA). As a strong believer in creating a better and more equitable “normal” in the piano community, she also founded A Seat at the Piano (ASAP) in the summer of 2020 ( ASAP is a non-profit that is dedicated to the promotion of inclusion in the performance and study of solo piano repertoire and is the 2023 recipient of the MTNA Frances Clark Keyboard Pedagogy Award. Annie is also the Assistant Director of Piano for the Brancaleoni International Music Festival ( in Piobbico, Italy. Annie received her DMA in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Michigan, where she also received her MM. She earned her BM in Piano Performance with a minor in Public Health from New York University. She is currently Assistant Professor of Piano and Piano Pedagogy at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Her favorite album is Glenn Gould's recordings of piano works by Brahms, and her favorite animation is Kiki's Delivery Service.

There is something mesmerizing and calming about staring into a spinning record - even more so with a spinning animation reel. I tend to get absorbed into the repetitive motions and drift off into a different world. These are the same sensations I feel when I daydream, and I couldn't help but think of American composer, Amy Beach (1865-1944) and her piece, "Dreaming," from Four Sketches, op. 15 to record for this project. The opening repeated triplets in contrary motion strangely feel like a minimalistic piece that could go on for lengths on its own. However, Beach writes an unexpected lyrical melody that tugs at our heart strings and makes us dream of something beyond what our hearts on this earth can hold.

  • Dan Hale
  • Annie Jeng
  • Project Type:
    Installation, Interactive Film
  • Genres:
  • Runtime:
    5 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    June 2, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    1,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Student Project:
  • ReGroup at GreenHill Artist Residency
    Greensboro, NC
    United States
    June 2, 2023
Director - Dan Hale