by Lauren Shantall
As elusive as an imagined tap on the shoulder, Vanishing Boy slips in and out of reach, sight and
mind. He's the anti-hero of a non-existent graphic novel, the cartoon champion of the disappearing act and the alter-ego/nemesis of creator Joey HiFi (yet another catchy nom de plume), who is disguised by day as a graphic designer.
HiFi has coined the term "crapation" - a combination of crap and animation - to describe his
rough-and-ready working methods. Vanishing Boy was first intended as a comic book but morphed into a
movie instead. The short, experimental animation constitutes the designer's first venture into Flash 5 and "its naivety is what really works for it".
In an age where most graphic design is produced entirely on computer, Vanishing Boy is situated within a school of thought that returns to the intimacy and singularity of hand-made design - before letting the machine at it.
Vanishing Boy was first screened, together with a number of other short animations, at the launch of Cake Underwear and an exhibition of Conrad Botes' and Brett Murray's 'Boogie Lights' held at the Bijou in Cape Town in 2001.
In a darkened studio somewhere in the known universe, HiFi is already story-boarding the secret formula for his next animation - involving a boy, a girl, quite possibly a love story - and kryptonite.