DELEGATES

First Panel: Intersectionality and Historical Memory in Animation

 

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Anitha Balachandran (Srishti Institute of Art, Design, and Technology), ‘Inherited Imaginaries: Animation and the Memorial Museum’. 

Abstract

This article examines the growing appearance of animation in a hybrid role as an artifact, and interpretive exhibit in Indian museums. In particular, I draw on my own experience as a practitioner of animation, revisiting films that I was commissioned to create for the Gandhi Memorial Museum in New Delhi, India. The animated form has a remarkable ability to seamlessly encompass a range of often fragmentary archival materials, bringing together diverse sounds, voices, music and imagery, and, with the use of essayistic techniques, allowing for poetic and reflexive evocations of the past. The Gandhi Memorial Museum was created at the site of the Mahatma’s assassination and attracts thousands of visitors from across the nation and the world. As a central site of public memory, this is an emotionally and politically charged space, where the voice and views of the government are palpable. To adapt Marianne Hirsh (2012), in a time of Postmemories, at stake are the transmission and inheritance of our past/s, and the power of this knowledge to influence our collective imaginations. In these circumstances, animation in an essayist mode affords a certain degree of slippage— making possible more critical, open-ended narratives that can serve to interrogate the celebratory ideals of the postcolonial state, the tendency to the merely hagiographic, and dominant nationalist grand-narratives that frame public museums. With its novel aesthetic and rhetorical strategies, animation also serves to engage a wider range of audiences across age, class, caste and linguistic boundaries. In doing so, the animated form seems to challenge ideological limits and disciplinary conventions, gesturing instead toward a more fluid, interdisciplinary understanding of the always-emerging relations between history and the present.

Biography

Anitha Balachandran is an illustrator and experimental animation filmmaker. She is interested in non-fiction and uses techniques including drawing, charcoal, sand, and stop-motion. She studied at the National Institute of Design, India and did her MA at the Royal College of Art in London. She currently lives and works n Bangalore. Her research interests are centered on South-Asian animation and image making practices. She teaches at the Srishti Institute of Art, Design, and Technology.

Keywords
memorial, Postmemory, museum, post-colonial, nationalism, India.

Anita Balachandran

Films

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Nuria

Nuria Simelio Sola (Autonomous University of Barcelona).

Maria-Forga

Maria Forga (University of Vic, Barcelona), ‘The Portrayal of Social Class and Gender and the Recovery of Historical Memory in the Spanish Animated Documentaries Bunuel en el Aberinto de las Tortugas and 30 Anos de Oscuridad.’

Abstract

In this paper, we present an analysis of two Spanish films that join a documentary-style objective representation of reality with the fantasy and the subjectivity provided by animation (Vidal 2011), and which are related to the recovery of historical memory. These are Buñuel en el laberinto de las Tortugas (Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles) (S. Simó 2018), an animated essay film about the filming of the documentary Las Hurdes, tierra sin pan (Las Hurdes, Land Without Bread)(L. Buñuel 1933); and 30 años de oscuridad (30 Years of Darkness) (M. Martín 2012), an animated documentary about the drama experienced after the Spanish Civil War by Republicans that had to live hidden in their own homes for years in order to escape Franco’s repression. We analyse the function of animation in the documentary narrative as a contribution of new meanings and explore in depth how the so-called pact of truthfulness (Vallejo 2007) between the viewer and film text allows for the exploration and widening of the limits of the documentary film through an animation without losing authenticity. The analysed films are a combination of social protest films, biographical documentary and the recovery of historical memory, where the animation allows the authors to overcome the lack of archive images and to soften the more dramatic events (Fenoll 2018). Likewise, we explore how in these two animated documentaries the explanation of Spanish history and its class, identity, and social conflicts, has a present day perspective where the values transmitted are similar to those of the Spain of the beginning of the 21st century. In this sense, we analyse the social class conflict and the portrayal of gender based on the idea that this view from the present has more in common with the current ideological and theorical analysis perspectives than with those of the years shown in the documentaries.

Biography

Dr. Núria Simelio is a senior lecturer in the Faculty of Communication at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB). She is a member of the Laboratory for Journalism and Communication Science for Diverse Citizenship at UAB. She has participated in several funded research studies related to TV, the analysis of social class, ethnicity, and gender in the media and the study of new forms of content production and social practices. She has been a coordinator in Spain of the international project “Global Media Monitoring 2015” of WACC and Chair of the Women’s Network of ECREA from 2008 to 2012. In 2012, she was a visiting researcher at the City University of London.

Dr. Maria Forga is a lecturer in Media Studies in the Faculty of Business and Communication at the University of Vic (Barcelona).  She is a member of the research group “Learning Media & Social Interactions”. Her principal areas of research are related to the ethical issues applied to media, especially about Islamophobia and the portrayal of stereotypes in Arab documentaries. She also works on gender issues in the media and has participated in international projects such as Study on Area J of the Beijing Platform for Action: Women and the Media in the European Union (2013) and the Global Media Monitoring Project (2015).

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Eynat Koren (Sapir Academic College), ‘The Ghostly Layers of Another Planet’.

Abstract

Amir Yatziv’s animated documentary Another Planet (Israel, 2017) takes its viewers on a virtual geographic journey between six alternative computerized models of the Auschwitz concentration camp. It winds through the diverse motivations, technics, professional and emotional backgrounds of their creators, by placing them as avatars and conversing with them within their respective models. The models, as performative recreations that try to both emulate the real-life camp yet turn away from its horrific functions, either lack any sign of life or death or grotesquely exaggerate it. They reposition the camp as sterile, simplified “other planets”, diversely used as a site of aesthetic experience, a forensic zone, a tourist attraction, a redemptive revenge game or a national revival scenery. Within them, the avatars’ ghostly-like presence, animated re-enacting, wandering and looking over each model, is determined by both the technical and aesthetic capabilities, resulting in a differed and sometimes enigmatic relation between voice and character.

By exploring the various indexical strategies and the animation used by Yatziv, I will argue that its intervention positions the avatars as ghostly layers within the seemingly clean environment, and undermine the new performative uses and meanings intended by the model’s creators. Although the recorded audio marks them as active actual subjects, their avatar ambiguously haunts the landscapes and is constantly re-assigned by the viewer with conflicting, troubled, historical layers of meaning. Cast by Yatziv as resurrected ghosts, they perform both imagined and readily available representations seen in numerous previous Holocaust-related examples: Are we watching the engineer of the original physical structure, or is it his haunted mental descendant? Is this old man a ghost image of a Claude Lanzmann’s interviewee, abruptly placed back in his suppressed memories? Whose shadows are cast on the brick wall? And what does “death” mean within the context of a censored videogame?

Biography

Eynat Koren received her BA from the Tel Aviv University film and television department and worked for many years as a 3D animator in the Israeli broadcast industry. She then returned to Tel Aviv University to write her MA thesis in art history, specializing in the history and theory of photography. Graduating with excellence, her thesis discussed the history of 20thcentury photograms.

She is currently teaching the history and theory of the animated documentary in Sapir Academic College, and will soon begin to write her Ph.D. dissertation, focusing on a psychoanalytic reading of the visual design of animated characters.

 

 

Second Panel: Intersectionality in Autoethnography and Autobiography

 

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Susan Young (Royal College of Art, London), ‘Using Animated Autoethnography to Resist and Reframe Psychiatric Othering and Iatrogenic Harm’.

Abstract

This presentation explores the use of animation in ‘first-person filmmaking’, as a medium for bearing witness to psychiatric ‘othering’ and as a method for metabolising iatrogenic harm.

Some years ago, I experienced several traumas that led to hospitalisation. In hospital, I became entrapped in an enacted structure of power (the mental health system) and in master narratives that both invalidated my subjective experience and psychiatrically othered me. I was viewed as innately irrational and unstable, and labeled an unreliable witness. Frustrated by this, I began my current research, identifying as a survivor of toxic psychiatric treatment. I aim to trouble power imbalances within psychiatry, and to challenge psychiatric othering and narrative entrapment through autoethnographic animation. Autoethnography is a methodology that focuses on using personal experience (auto) to explore socio-cultural-political issues (ethno) in written or other creative form (graphy) Through my use of animated autoethnography I am reflexively re-storying my psychiatric narrative, giving voice to my othered self, and bearing witness to the wider issue of iatrogenic harm. As part of this presentation, I will illustrate how I am working with my psychiatric and legal records in order to create animated montages that poetically interrogate traumatic memories. This process enables me to re-enter past experiences in an embodied way, and thus viscerally evoke and metabolise their related traumas.

Biography

Susan Young is a practice-based Ph.D. student at the Royal College of Art. Susan’s 1985 film Carnival established her distinctive hand-drawn style and career directing commercials and short films. In 1997 Susan developed an overwork-related hand injury and post-traumatic stress disorder, which led to her current research: Bearing Witness: Autoethnographic Animation and the Metabolism of Trauma. This practice-based study includes the autoethnographic films, It Started With a Murder(2013) and The Betrayal (2015). On completion of her Ph.D., Susan will continue with post-doctoral research, develop experimental film projects, and return to commissioned filmmaking.

Susan Young

Films

Blog

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Laura-Beth Cowley (University of West England, Bristol), ‘Show me what you’ve got: ‘The Making of Video’ a multi sensory and multi purpose research method’.

Abstract

The ‘making of video’ has long been a way of documenting the process of film making to the audience and would be industry participants. It has even been used to advertise the film and sometimes reaches higher viewing counts than the final film itself. The secretive worlds of animation and film are revealed in these intermit documentaries,  Offering insight into new processes, poignant personal narratives and the overwhelming facets of production. In this way, the ‘making of video’ or video diary is an ideal method of documenting and collecting data for screen centred arts research, such as animation. By looking at various ‘making of videos’ that document not only the process of making of a film but the issues and emotions that are revealed during the process we can see how the use of video capture in practice-based research, not only as a way of collating qualitative data but as disseminated method, can benefit the research and their reader.

Looking at the work developed using video diaries and video methods in the fields of sociology, anthropology, and psychology. This method has great potential to not only document the transfer of social, practical and tacit knowledge in the arts but can also be used to develop a narrative in its own right and to disseminate the process of research to a wider audience beyond that of an academic platform. Artistic pursuits and tacit knowledge are notoriously difficult to document but by using this multisensory research method audio, the visual and descriptive/stream of conscious narration that highlight themes and physical action can be captured as data for analysis and dissemination.

Biography

Laura-Beth Cowley is a practice-based Ph.D. researcher in the Centre for Fine Art Print at the University of West England, Bristol. Her research is looking into the use of 3D printing in stop-motion animation. As a freelance animator, model maker and independent filmmaker, she created short films that have been screened globally as well working on commercial projects for various studios. Laura has also been the featured writer for skwigly online animation magazine for the last five years and written for various online and printed magazine and journals.

Laura-Beth Cowley

Art

Articles

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Sally Pearce (Wolverhampton University), ‘Subversively Claustrophobic Spaces in Woman’s Animated Autobiography’.

Abstract

Locations used by female directors of animated autobiography are physically, culturally, historically and politically specific – they are gendered, situated – expressing perceived differences, playfully re-writing history. Any life is inscribed by, and into, the places and times it animates, but the animated autobiography maker adds a layer of inscription to her life and her locations in her choices – which locations matter, how they are stylised and their ontology – are they remembered, representative, symbolic, imagined, introspective, performative? In all of these categories, claustrophobic spaces occur, subversively mapping feminist intersectionality through the confined spaces of women’s lives and animation. e.g. in ‘Places Other People Have Lived’, Yilmaz interrogates her relationship with her sister, embedded in the remembered walls of their family home. An interview with her adult sister is projected, enclosed in a small rectangle, onto the animated walls of the house – a ghost from the future, fracturing the happy family. In Crisbacher’s ‘When’ about anorexia the disembodied visual floats around a cold, bricked-in inescapable introspective space throughout the film. Mantells’s ‘Gifted’ about dyslexia uses a non-place, representing a school and home – blue, featureless and unchanging, where a book looms so large it becomes a place. In Mukii’s ‘Yellow Fever’ the claustrophobic is created not only by a symbolic cramped hairdresser’s salon, but also by posters of women with straight hair and light skin, enclosing the animated characters, who with their dark skins, wince and endure as their hair is disciplined. In ‘1977’ Varela becomes a ‘fill in by numbers’ sketch, flattened helplessly onto a 2D page, as her gender draws itself.

Keywords: (Animated) location. Space. Place. Difference. Subversion. Claustrophobic. (Animated) auto-biography/ethnography. Gender. Feminist. Intersectionality.

Biography

Sally Pearce is currently in the first year of a Ph.D. by Practice at Wolverhampton University, where she is based in the animation department. She has a BA in Philosophy from Cambridge University and a second BA in Fine Art from Sheffield Hallam University. She took her MA in Animation Direction at the National Film and TV School, UK, graduating in 2008. Her animated and mixed media films have screened in Festivals around the world and won many awards.

Sally Pearce

 

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Sabina Shah

Sabina Shah (University of Manchester), ‘Representations of the Muslim Female in Animation: Intersectionality in Practice’.

Abstract

The practice-based study presented aims to engage with the essay film, particularly that of animation via the means of documenting a moment of history. The study is an effort to recover the forgotten, if not ignored histories of the Muslim female, which has led to a focus on the historical figure Sultan Razia, who ruled the Sultanate of Delhi between 1236-1240CE. The act of recovery concerning the narrative creates a forum for discussion that problematises the hybridity of the form that rests within fiction and non-fiction especially that of sound and visuals due to the aspect of the animator’s approach to historical recovery; thus, illustrating the non-fiction and visual essay element of delivery. There is an argument to be made that the image of the Muslim female is drawn in all manner of directions from that of the belly-dancing beauty to the ‘bundle in black’, the latter often associated with terrorism, particularly post-9/11 and the consequent ‘War on Terror’. There is another direction that proffers an idealised image of the good daughter and dutiful wife against that of the fallen woman. Such constructs tend to rid the Muslim female of her agency. In this vein, how is a practitioner to illustrate lesser-known histories, to illustrate a rich and vibrant history pertaining to that of the Muslim woman that goes against the grain of established tropes? Further guiding questions are: why are current and existing portrayals of the historical Muslim female problematic? Why do these portrayals need to be addressed? Why does an alternative approach to the portrayal of the historical Muslim female need to be devised and put into practice? This project goes beyond traditional academic methods of critical analysis. The hybridised role of the researcher-animator enables the study to offer a critique from that of the spectator, but with the added vantage point of the practitioner with a set focus on intersectionality and the making of meaning stemming from political-social and cultural paradigms.

 

Biography

Sabina Shah holds a Ph.D. in Drama from the University of Manchester; the thesis being entitled The Portrayal of the Historical Muslim Female on Screen, whereby the practice utilises stop-frame animation. Currently, she works as an independent filmmaker and essayist wherein her interests continue to lie in representation, practice-as-research, filmmaking, animation, and Muslim women’s activist-scholarship.

Blog

Films

 

Third Panel: Intersectionality, Identifiers, and Identities

 

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Faiyaz Jafri (Parsons School of Design and Queens College, New York), ‘The Illusion of Destruction’.

Abstract

On September 11, 2001, I witnessed the destruction of the Twin Towers from the roof of my lower Manhattan apartment. Their architectural symbolism as defined by Charles Jencks shifted from global political-economic domination and arrogance to the start of the decline of an empire. As for what should be built in place of the towers, Jean Baudrillard says in Requiem pour les Twin Towers (2002), “The problem is insoluble. Quite simply because one can imagine nothing equivalent that would be worth destroying – that would be worthy of being destroyed. The Twin Towers were worth destroying.” In actuality, they were never replaced, their ghost lives on in the negative space rooted in the cavities of their foundation. The fascination with the attack is the fascination of the image of it, perpetuated by the countless reruns on mass media. The simulacrum is true.

This Ain’t Disneyland (2015) is my first-hand account of the New York September 11 attacks. It explores the simulation of the event’s reality by emphasizing the repetition of the collapse. Utilizing a hard CGI aesthetic, creating a symbolic computer generated identical destruction juxtaposed with Disney simulacra. In Drowning Girl (2019) I elaborate on the hyperreality of the collapse and its protagonists. Brian Mc Hale (2015) calls September 11 a convenient shorthand for the end of Postmodernism. Drowning Girl (2019) proposes a Post-Postmodern solution for Baudrillard’s problem by replacing the Twin Towers with multiple perfect replicas of the original pair transcending space and place driven by their vernacularity in virtuality.

Keywords: city, architecture, terrorism, simulacra, simulation, CGI, hyperreality

Biography

Faiyaz Jafri studied at the Technical University of Delft (MSc) and is a self-taught animation artist and music composer. Jafri’s art explores Jungian archetypes in the modern world, distilling the pop references of mass media and global popular culture into a visual shorthand of neo-archetypes. His work has been exhibited in the form of print, paintings, installations, animations, and sculptures. Jafri’s award-winning films have screened at prestigious festivals and museums. He is a part-time professor at Parsons School of Design and Queens College in New York.

 

Faiyaz Jafri

Arts and Films

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SLangsdale

Samantha Langsdale (University of North Texas), ‘You are like me: Intersectionality Strengths and Weaknesses in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)’.

Abstract

In this paper, I argue that despite being a major Hollywood studio production, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018), or SMSV, can, and perhaps should, be read like an animated essay film. SMSV uses multiple, distinctive animation styles, it tells the story of five different dimensions of reality colliding, it references other media genres like noir and anime, and it centers on a hero with a bi-racial identity. It is a film with an undeniably hybrid quality that cuts “across definitional boundaries” in its production and content. I suggest that it is precisely because of its form as an animated essay film, that the intersectional strengths of SMSV become legible. Rooted in the works of the Combahee River Collective (1977), Black feminist philosophers (Collins 1990; Davis 1990; Crenshaw 1989), and postcolonial feminist theorists (Mohanty 1984; Spivak 1988), “intersectionality” has become a mainstay of much social justice-oriented scholarship. That said, its meaning and usage have expanded such that various applications of the term are more (strong) or less (weak) relevant to the reality of “intersecting social issues and power relations.” Feminist scholars Dill and Kohlman (2011) assert that intersectional approaches that simply include differences/incorporate diverse identities are weak, whereas approaches that acknowledge and critique how systems of inequality relate to one another to subjugate marginalized groups are strong. To fail to understand SMSV as an essay film is to settle for a weak intersectional analysis where the inclusion of diverse identities is visible (e.g. the hero is Afro-Latino) but critiques of overlapping power structures are not. A strong approach, on the other hand, becomes possible by paying attention to the myriad cultural genres that are evoked throughout the film—like, for instance, Hip-Hop culture as it is referenced in clothing, music, and graffiti art—that highlight political and social movements that have sought to address overlapping systems of oppression in the US (Rabaka 2013).

Biography

Samantha Langsdale holds a Ph.D. from the University of London. She writes and lectures on Feminist Philosophy, Embodiment, Visual Culture, and Religions. Currently, she is a Lecturer at the Department of Philosophy & Religion at the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, University of North Texas.

Samantha Langsdale

Work

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Marc Bosward (University of Derby), ‘Dark Fringes: Complexity and Emergence in Realist Collage’.

Abstract

The paper will present practice research at the intersection of collage, animation, found footage film and documentary. The research investigates the capacity of the fragmented, layered language of collage to engage the stratified, laminated reality advanced by the philosophy of critical realism. In contrast to empiricism and idealism, critical realism recognises the socially embedded, material and historically situated basis of knowledge production. In response, the research pursues a multivocal and pluralist approach to representation that the paper claims is necessary in apprehending the dense complexity of social relations.

The project examines the status of archive footage as evidence of the multiple mechanisms and structures that have generated historical events. This draws from the critical realist concept of emergence in interrogating how the meaning of archive materials is mediated through the convergence of layers in collage aesthetics. This suggests that the spaces at the fringes of collage fragments can address the tension and exchange between facts and values in the negotiation of reality. The paper argues for the recognition of the interstitial space between and around evidence and facts, advancing an approach to realism open to the role of imagination and narrative in how we understand the world. In reference to the politics of layered realities, collage is suggested as a tool for challenging reductive accounts of the social world that obscure the power relations that determine events. Specifically, through aligning a critical realist engagement with intersectionality with postcolonial and Marxist perspectives, the work aims to contribute to the decolonisation of the mainstream media’s representation of the working classes and social history.

Biography

Marc Bosward‘s interests include the convergence of digital and analog practices within collage and montage, the interface of live action and animation, found footage film, animation and history and memory, and the politics of experimental non-fiction film. I am a fourth year part-time Ph.D. candidate investigating the role of collage in non-fiction film and the construction of historical narrative.

Marc Bosward

Art and Work

Blog

 

Fourth Panel: Dismantling the Happiness Machine – A Discussion

 

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Lizzy Hobbs (Filmmaker Animator, Anglia Ruskin University and UAL)

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Samantha Moore (Animated Documentary Filmmaker).

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Abigail Addison (Director of Animate Projects Agency), ‘Dismantling the Happiness Machine’

Abstract

This panel will discuss the UK outcomes from a pan European anthology animated short film project, The Happiness Machine which was commissioned to illustrate, elucidate, and highlight  ‘The Common Good’, an alternative economic model devised by Austrian economist Christian Felber. The Happiness Machine is an innovative project in which 10 women directors worked with 10 contemporary music composers to create films with original scores for live performance in concerts and cinema screenings. Organised by orchestra Klangforum Wien and devised in collaboration with Tricky Women/Tricky Realities.

Lizzy Hobbs’ The Flounder is an adaptation of the Brothers Grimm fairy tale ‘The fisherman and his wife’. One day a humble fisherman catches an enchanted fish. The man tells his wife of the strange incident, and they decide to ask the fish to use its powers and improve their circumstances. The animation is exuberantly painted by Hobbs with an original score by composer Carola Bauckholt. Sam Moore’s Bloomers uses animation printed onto fabric to bring the story of a lingerie factory in Manchester to life. Silk, cotton, and lace go under the camera, as the workers recount the history of Headen & Quarmby, the UK garment manufacturing industry, and British family traditions of making. A soundtrack by Swedish composer Malin Bång, inspired by sounds of sewing machinery, evokes the ups and downs of the factory. The two British directors and producer from the project will discuss the pleasures and pratfalls of working on such an international, interdisciplinary work, and how it coalesced into something that could potentially spark discussion on the topic of economic change.

Happiness Machine

Biography

Elizabeth Hobbs is an animated filmmaker based in East London. She has been making films for 18 years. Her films are experimental in form and often centred upon real life people or events. Her films often employ methods from her printmaking background, but always explore and stretch the material possibilities of the medium. Her films have travelled widely to international film festivals and won many awards including a BAFTA nomination for ‘I’m OK’ in 2019.  Elizabeth enjoys sharing her practice through collaboration and workshops, and she is an associate lecturer at Anglia Ruskin University and UAL.

Art and Work

Films

Sam Moore is an animated documentary maker who is passionate about the ability of animation to convey insights into tricky documentary topics. She has made work on diverse subjects from micro-biology to the manufacturing of knickers. Sam’s films have won awards all over the world and she has a Ph.D. (2015) about the way animation can be used to document perceptual brain states, such as phantom limb syndrome and face blindness. Her artistic methodology is based on establishing strong symbiotic working collaborations with the people who are represented in her films, through visual contributions and aural recording.

Samantha Moore

Films

Abigail Addison is a Producer and is a Director of arts agency Animate Projects that works at the intersection of animation, film, and art. Over the past 11 years, she has produced many innovative projects including 15 shorts for Channel 4’s Random Acts, and Silent Signal, a large-scale touring art & science project. She has been nominated for the BAFTA British Short Animation 2019 for Elizabeth Hobbs’ experimental short, I’m OK.

She also independently produces films, and co-produced Chris Shepherd’s Johnno’s Dead which won Best British Film at London International Animation Festival 2016 and Best Animation at Aesthetica Short Film Festival 2017. Abigail was Associate Producer on DOOZYby Richard Squires, which premiered at the BFI London Film Festival 2018.

Abigail Addison

 

Fifth Panel: Artistic Narratives as Antithesis

 

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Holger Lang (Animator, Experimental Filmmaker), ‘Personal Artistic Narratives functioning as a basis for an Antithesis to Consumerism, Capitalism, and Corporate Control’.

Abstract

Related to my experience in developing audio-visual work over a period of several decades the achievable role of artists and their subjective positions towards society will be examined from an angle that may provide substantial arguments for alternative prospects in future cultural developments. In the case of truly independently working artists the collective volume of their output has the potential to aggregate to the extent of a critical mass that could offer contrary visions to the currently dominating currents and trends in the global economy, politics, and social matters. By analyzing and dissecting several examples of my personal work and by putting them into context with the work of other independently working artists I will demonstrate how the very individualized strategies and practices of artists can function as models for broader approaches to the interactions with global issues. Animation as a tool and as a procedure can play a crucial and outstanding role in this process, if, as I will demonstrate as one of its possibilities, it utilizes relevant qualities of recording media like photography and film. Focussing on animated films created by independent artist, who utilized predominantly such photographic methods for their mainly very experimental work, the feasible long-term influence of animation that may initially appear as niche products, will be discussed and argued. This also requires a partial clarification of the term „animation“ within its application in individual, personalized projects and how this definition can relate to the general understanding of film and animation as art-forms.

Biography

Holger Lang is an Austrian artist and filmmaker, living and working in Vienna. His artistic focus reaches from abstract and conceptual work to experimental and interdisciplinary projects. For almost 25 years he is teaching animation, media arts and aesthetics, he is organizing academic conferences in multiple countries, he is curating programs of European and Austrian animation and experimental films for various venues, and he is managing and curating an independent gallery in Vienna. His own artistic output in film, experimental animation, and fine arts has been shown in solo and group screenings, and exhibitions for more than 3 decades. His general artistic focus is on exploratory, idiosyncratic, personal, and primal facets of human aspirations and efforts.

Art and Work

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Frank Gessner (Film University Babelsberg Konrad Wolf), ‘From Assisi after Padua * Atelier Berlin Manifesto’.

Abstract

The audiovisual essay FROM ASSISI AFTER PADUA (work in progress), a vivid demonstration of aesthetic, formal, structural and image theoretical premises together with their combined approaches, both opens up new pathways and closes off others. Bursting through conventional forms of representation and questioning established patterns of perception opens up new spaces of experience, which can amalgamate the personal, current and virtual into time-based “meta-documentation”. DANTE & GIOTTO: Relationships between Bildkunst/Visual Arts and Poetry among each other. At a given moment in time the architectural was incorporated the architectural is incorporated into the image as an element of the image design (Gestaltung), while at the same time the figurative/picturesque language moves into the architecture of actual buildings (see: Theodor Hetzer). Max Imdahl formulated a methodology that he called “the Iconic”, using an artwork’s structure to determine its significance. Alberto Giacometti on structural copy or drawing: “Everything is a draft. A sculpture is a drawing in three-dimensional space. A painting is a drawing with colours. One can say, at least for me this is true: It’s all just a drawing.”

The essay films made in this age of the intermingling and manipulation of analog and digital will only become truly topical in the future, as it is ready to accommodate complex themes and the full range of genres. The essay introduces a conceptual and practice-based way of working as a form of discussion. This approach puts forward the premise, in form and content, for a common starting point in theory and practice, as well as providing the foundation for interacting with new partners for the upcoming project VOYAGEUR DE L’IMAGE/WEGE ZUM BILD/TOWARDS THE IMAGE: 4th movement – 4. Satz_INTERFACE: TESTeLAB & Guests.

Biography

Frank Geßner was born in Würzburg in 1965. He studied Fine Arts (sculpture, painting) and Art History in Stuttgart and Berlin. 2004, the appointment to the chair of Visual Arts for Animation at the HFF “Konrad Wolf” Potsdam-Babelsberg and from 2006 to 2009 also Vice President for Education, Research and Development. Since 2009, Professor for Theory and Practice of Visual Arts/Image-based Aesthetics at the Film University Babelsberg KONRAD WOLF. Lecture essays and workshops domestically and abroad. Artistic research and teaching interests: drawing, sculpture, and painting; theory and practice of visual art; pre- and future cinema, experimental and hybrid auteur film, expanded animation.

Frank Gessner

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Richard Wright (Filmmaker and Digital Animator), ‘Recording thought, Thinking about Records: Notes on Animation and Other Media in the Essay Film’.

Abstract

The C16th philosopher Michel de Montaigne originally conceived the essay form as an attempt to make a written record of ones own thinking in as unrestricted a way as possible, like a documentation of inner mental processes. During the era of cinema, the essay encountered the notion of film being able to make thought visible, or a form of thinking in images. The earliest essay films such as Markers “Letter from Siberia” established its typical methods of mixing many different modes of visual expression including animation. Yet in subsequent years animation was largely dropped in favour of the recording of personal testimony, diaries and the use of archive footage. Although imagined as an internal psychic process, thinking tends to turn outwards into the world. The essay film is usually constructed using external references in the form of documented actualities, even if the ultimate subject is to be found in the realm of philosophical ideas, cultural themes or historical motifs. The result is, even today, a very sparse number of animated essay films. In this written essay we compare examples of the more common montage based essay films with animated works on similar themes and periods of history with a particular emphasis on how they deal with different kinds of records and recording media. We look at ways in which recordings can constitute animation in such a way as to facilitate discourse, and we look at essay films which mix animation and live action recording, sometimes assigning them different functions at the level of signification, sometimes producing unintended tensions at the level of the image which have yet to be explored.

Biography

Richard Wright is an artist whose work includes many pioneering digital animations and interactive pieces, such as the animate! commissioned “Heliocentrum” (1995). His online screensaver “The Bank of Time” was nominated for a BAFTA award in 2001. From 2004 to 2009 he collaborated with Graham Harwood and Matsuko Yokokoji, their final project “Tantalum Memorial” winning the Transmediale.09 award in Berlin. In 2015-16 he was artist-in-residence at the British Library where he built “The Elastic System”. He is currently researching a film about animation as a “political history of movement” and a book exploring animation as a contemporary media practice.

Richard Wright

Work

 

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