[-empyre-] An overview of our discussion on Animation

Renate Ferro rtf9 at cornell.edu
Tue Feb 9 01:47:03 EST 2010

Here is the entire line up of guests as well as an overview for anyone who
might be joining our discussion late this month.  You can access this past
weeks discussion as well as months and years past by going to our archive
at https://lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au/pipermail/empyre/
At the left a list of the months appears.  Then the posts can be organized
by date, author, etc.

Moderated by Renate Ferro (US) and Tim Murray with invited discussants
Thomas LaMarre (CA), Lev Manovich (UK), Suzanne Buchan (UK), Paul Ward
(UK), Eric Patrick (US), Richard Wright (UK), Thyrza  Nichols Goodeve
(US), Christopher Sullivan (US), and Melanie Beisswenger (SG)

Theorizing Animation: Concept and Context

Animated worlds are proliferating globally.  In consideration of
what seems like an explosion of online and museum exhibitions
celebrating animation, we would like to spend the month considering
the intersection between art, animation, and theory.  While some of
our guests theorize cinematic interventions in animation (timely
given the success of "Avatar") others create, curate, and ponder the
experimental narratives and "animated paintings" that have captured
the curiosity of the art world.

What are the advantages of creating and thinking through animation?
How do real worlds and virtual worlds overlap?  What about the trend
to feature animation in museum contexts, often at the expense of
digitally interactive work which might be more expense to mount and
opaque to witness?  Can a critical distinction be made between
blockbuster animation and boutique creations, often with more
poignant narrative content?

Earlier this fall, Tim marveled at the extent to which animation was
featured in the Asia Art Biennial in Taiwan, with fascinating pieces
by the Israeli filmmaker, Ari Folman and the Russian collective
AES+F, as well as a separate show of Korean animation at the
National Taiwan Museum of Fine Art.  That is now followed by the
"Animamix Biennial-Visual Attract and Attack" now ongoing at the
Museum of Contemporary Art, Taiwan.

The cross platform solo exhibitions also have caught the eye of much of
the museum public.  Tim and Renate visited Sadie Benning's (USA) essay on
queer sexuality in "Pause Play" at the Whitney Museum in New York and look
forward to William Kentridge's (South Africa) "Five Themes" exhibition, a
survey of almost thirty-years of work including many animated films, that
opened last season at the MOMA San Francisco and will be at MOMA New
York at the end of this month.  Kentridge's work explores themes of
colonialism and apartheid often through lyrical and comedic lenses
that sometimes poke fun at the artist himself.  His work merges the
real world into animation and back again. Just this week Cornell hosted an
extravaganza of The Quay Brother’s film work with an exhibition of their
set design.  It was exciting to hear them talk about their work in several
on campus forums.

This month we invite our guests and subscribers to engage critically with
the development of animation.  We will be inviting artists and theorists
to consider the concepts and context of contemporary global animation.

This month’s February edition of –empyre “Theorizing Animation: Content
and Context is moderated by Renate Ferro (US) www.renateferro.net
artist-conceptual/new media, Department of Art, Cornell University, and
Tim Murray (US), Curator of the Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art,
Cornell University.

Week 1:  Thomas Lamarre (CA) and Lev Manovich (UK)

Thomas Lamarre is a professor in the Department of East Asian Studies and
associate in Communications Studies at McGill University. He has written
three books on the history of media and material culture in Japan. The
first, Uncovering Heian Japan: An Archaeology of Sensation and
Inscription, centres on the formation of inter-imperial media networks
linking 9th century Japan to kingdoms in Korea and China, showing how
calligraphic styles and poetic exchanges served to ground a cosmopolitical
order. The second, Shadows on the Screen: Tanizaki Jun’ichirō on
Cinema and Oriental Aesthetics, looks at how cinema in 1910s and 1920s
Japan radically transformed urban experiences of space and time, resulting
in a new image of world and world history wherein Japan was reconfigured
as the Oriental subject and object of empire. The third, The Anime
Machine: A Media Theory of Animation, explores how animation technologies
spurred the formation of distinctive lineages of technological thought in
Japan of the 1980s and 1990s. With funding from SSHRC, he is currently
finishing a book entitled Otaku Movement: Capitalism and Fan Media (under
contract with MIT) that explores fan activities, transformations in
labour, and cultural activism in contemporary Japan. He is a participant
in a CFI grant to construct at Moving Image Research Laboratory.

Thomas Lamarre (Department of East Asian Studies, McGill University) is a
specialist in Japanese history, literature, cinema and new media. His
primary research interest is the historical transformations of technology
and media and its impacts on the emergence of historically specific power
formations, systems of exchange, and material cultures.

Lev Manovich's <http://www.manovich.net> books include Software Takes
Command (released under CC license, 2008), Soft Cinema: Navigating the
Database (The MIT Press, 2005), and The Language of New Media (The MIT
Press, 2001) which is hailed as "the most suggestive and broad ranging
media history since Marshall McLuhan." He has written 90+ articles which
have been reprinted over 300 times in 30+ countries. Manovich is a
Professor in Visual Arts Department, University of California -San Diego,
a Director of the Software Studies Initiative at California Institute for
Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2), and a Visiting
Research Professor at Goldsmith College (University of London), De
Montfort University (UK) and College of Fine Arts, University of New South
Wales (Sydney). He is much in demand to lecture around the world, having
delivered 300+ lectures, seminars and workshops during the last 10 years.

Week 2: Suzanne Buchan (UK), Paul Ward (UK)

Suzanne Buchan is Professor of Animation Aesthetics and Director of the
Animation Research Centre at the University for Creative Arts, England
(www.ucreative.ac.uk/arc). She is the Editor of animation: an
interdisciplinary journal (http://anm.sagepub.com/). Her interdisciplinary
research focuses on aesthetics and theory of the manipulated moving mage
in animation, digital culture, and experimental film. Publications include
Trickraum : Spacetricks (Christoph Merian Publishers, 2005)  that
accompanied the eponymous exhibition, Animated 'Worlds' (John Libbey,
2005), and The Quay Brothers: Into the Metaphysical Playroom will be
published this year by University of Minnesota Press.

Paul Ward is a Principal Lecturer in the School of Media at the Arts
University College at Bournemouth, UK. He teaches on the BA (Hons)
Animation Production course and contributes to a cross-disciplinary MA
course. His research interests are in the fields of animation and
documentary film and television. Published work includes articles for the
journals animation: an interdisciplinary journal, Animation Journal, and
the Historical Journal for Film, Radio and Television, as well as numerous
anthology essays. Paul is also the author of Documentary: The Margins of
Reality (Wallflower Press, 2005) and TV Genres: Animation (Edinburgh
University Press, forthcoming; co-authored with Nichola Dobson). He serves
on the Editorial Boards of animation: an interdisciplinary journal and
Animation Studies and is a member of the UK Arts and Humanities Research
Council Peer Review College with special interest in animation and
documentary research proposals. Paul is the current President of the
Society for Animation Studies."

Week 3: Eric Patrick (US), Christopher Sullivan (US), Melanie Beisswenger

Eric Patrick combines animation, live action, photographic effects,
sound collage and performance to create experimental narratives.  He has
been the recipient of numerous awards both domestically and
internationally including a Guggenheim fellowship, and awards from The
Black Maria Film Festival, Semana de Cine Experimental de Madrid, South by
Southwest Film Festival, The Ann Arbor Film Festival, and Festival de
Cinema Independent de Barcelona.  His films have screened extensively at
festivals, museums, and on television throughout Europe, Australia, Asia
and the Americas, including screenings at the Museum of Modern Art in New
York, the Georges Pompidou Centre in Paris and The Rotterdam Film

In addition to his film work, Eric has also worked extensively in
commercial animation in both New York and Los Angeles.  His animation
for the Nickelodeon program Blues Clues has been nominated for multiple
Emmys and received a Peabody award.
He has additionally written articles on animated documentaries and
ritual in animation.  He is currently working on a film titled
Retrocognition, and is an Assistant Professor in the Radio/TV/Film
program at Northwestern University.

Christopher Sullivan
Is an animator, filmmaker and performance artist. He has been creating
experimental film and theatre for over 20 years. He has shown his work in
festivals, theatres and museums all over the Country and in Europe. He has
received a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Rockefeller Media Arts Fellowship.
Recently, he has been programming experimental films and animations in
community settings such as libraries, elementary schools, and educational
conferences, and puppet festivals. He lives in Chicago with his wife Susan
Abelson, and their daughters Carmen and Silvia, and teaches Animation and
Film at The School of The Art Institute of Chicago.

Melanie Beisswenger  joined the School of Art, Design and Media at Nanyang
Technical University in July 2007 as Asst. Professor in the Digital
Animation Programme, where she is teaching 3D Character Animation I and II
and Animation Development and Preproduction. Melanie has a decade of
production experience as artist and character animator on feature films
and TV commercials. Credits include the Academy Award winning feature film
"Happy Feet", the stereoscopic 3D feature film "Fly Me to the Moon" and
the BioShock Game launch trailer among others.Melanie Beisswenger's
research interests are digital animation, story telling, and 3D
stereoscopy, and how technology and tools can be adapted to employ them
intuitively within the creative process. Her current research work focus
on the production pipeline and process of the animated short film creation
in 3D and stereoscopic 3D.

Week 4:Thyrza  Nichols Goodeve (US) , Richard Wright (UK), Eileen Reynolds

Thyrza Nichols Goodeve, PhD is an art writer and Adjunct Professor at
The School of Visual Arts in New York City who teaches in the film, art
history, and MFA Art Criticism and Writing departments. She has known The
Brothers Quays since 1996 when she interviewed them for *Artforum* in
conjunction with the premiere of *Institute Benjamenta*. Most recently she
has followed the Quays foray into the exhibition space with their traveling
exhibition DORMITORIUM (curated by Ed Waisnis), a rare selection of vitrines
of original puppet theaters f such as *Street of Crocodiles* or *The Cabinet
of Jan Svankmeyer.* Last week she was with the Quays as they installed the
exhibition at the invitation of The College of Architecture, Art and
Planning at Cornell University  where the Quay Brothers work was featured.

Richard Wright is a visual artist working in animated media who made
several pioneering computer animated films and interactive pieces.
‘Heliocentrum’ (1995), an animation about Louis XIV, was described by
writer Hari Kunzru as ‘
an amazingly effective way of showing how a
sovereign manipulated power’ and ‘The Bank of Time’ was nominated for
a BAFTA in 2001. His last short film was "Foreplay" (2004), described
as “a porn film without the sex” .

Richard helped set up the MA in Digital Art and Animation at London
Metropolitan University and was postproduction and animation tutor at
the National Film and Television School for three years.  He has a PhD in
the aesthetics of digital film making and has
published forty book chapters, articles and reviews.

>From 2004 to 2009 he collaborated with Graham Harwood and Matsuko
Yokokoji, initially as Mongrel. Their last project 'Tantalum  Memorial'
won the transmediale.09 award.

Current projects include a public video work called “decorative 
surveillance”, researching a book about contemporary animation
practice, the “narrativising” of new media and data visualisation as
the successor to documentary film making.

Beginning her art career working primarily in painting and photography,
Eileen Reynolds went on to work in the film and television industry. In
2004, she was a Director of Photography for Millennium Park’s Crown
Fountains in downtown Chicago. Working for the artist Jamie Plensa gave
her a new perspective on the size and scope of public art pieces and
sparked her interest in collaborative work. In 2001, Eileen was invited by
the National Film Board of Canada to conduct stop-motion animation
workshops for the Humanities Festival in Chicago. Along with shooting
various independent short films, she also had the opportunity to be
director of photography for the Pow Wow, Gathering of Nations, a video
series distributed by FOX TV.

Eileen Reynolds
Eileen Anastasia Reynolds is an experimental media artist working with
painting, photography, and stop motion animation. She is interested in the
visceral responses that stop motion animation creates, using tactility to
explore levels of emotional impact. Her current work, is an experimental
animated documentary that attempts to bridge illusion and reality while
embracing the magical realism of stop motion. Her ultimate goal is to
preserve the integrity of stop motion which, she feels, is the perfect mix
of art; including but not limited to sculpture, painting, photography,
lighting, performing, writing, and music.

Eileen continues to exhibit her personal artwork, consisting of painting,
photography, and stop-motion animation.  As an Asst Prof at the School of
Design, and Media at Nanyang Technological University since 2005, she has
taught stop motion animation, animation seminar, and animation history.

Her research interests include bioethics and emerging technologies, which
raise scientific, social, and ethical concerns. Her most recent project
embarked on a journey with 33 EEE students from NTU who helped in the
creation of an animated film series called "Synchronicity Series". They
performed, choreographed and animated their bodies using the stop motion
technique called pixilation.

Moderators:  Renate Ferro (US) and Tim Murray (US)

Renate Ferro (US) www.renateferro.net is a new media artist working in
emerging technology and culture. . She is the managing moderator for the
new media listserv -EMPYRE-soft-skinned space. She teaches in the College
of Architecture, Art and Planning at Cornell University. By aligning
artistic, creative practice with critical approaches, her creative skins
emerge in the forms of drawing and text to performance, installation, and
net-based projects. Her most recent projects include:  “ “Fort/Da: From
the Pleasure Principle to the Technological Drive,” Panic Hits Home,” and
“Mining Memory.” She also runs a creative lab called The Tinker Factory
www.tinkerfactory.net as part of her practice. Her work has been exhibited
in the US and China.

Tim Murray is the Curator of the Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art,
and co-moderator of the -empyre- new media listserv, and co-curator of
CTHEORY MULTIMEDIA. He is is a Professor of Comparative Literature and
English, Timothy Murray is Director of the Society for the Humanities  at
Cornell University.  As a curator of new media art, and theorist of the
digital humanities and arts, he sits on the National Steering Committee of
HASTAC, and is currently working on a book, Immaterial Archives:
Curatorial Instabilities @ New Media Art, which is a sequel to Digital
Baroque: New Media Art and Cinematic Folds (Minnesota, 2008). His books
include Zonas de Contacto: el arte en CD-Rom (Centro de la Imagen, 1999),
Drama Trauma: Specters of Race and Sexuality in Performance, Video, Art
(Routledge, 1997), Like a Film: Ideological Fantasy on Screen, Camera, and
Canvas (Routledge, 1993), Theatrical Legitimation: Allegories of Genius In
XVIIth-Century England and France (Oxford, 1987), ed. with Alan Smith,
Repossessions: Psychoanalysis and the Phantasms of Early-Modern Culture
(Minnesota, 1998), ed., Mimesis, Masochism & Mime: The Politics of
Theatricality in Contemporary French Thought (Michigan, 1997).
His research and teaching crosses the boundaries of new media, film and
video, visual studies, twentieth-century Continental philosophy,
psychoanalysis, critical theory, performance, and English and French early
modern studies.

Renate Ferro
Visiting Assistant Professor
Department of Art
Cornell University, Tjaden Hall
Ithaca, NY  14853

Email:   <rtf9 at cornell.edu>
Website:  http://www.renateferro.net

Co-moderator of _empyre soft skinned space

Art Editor, diacritics

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