[-empyre-] CG and all things fuzzy

Simon Biggs s.biggs at eca.ac.uk
Tue Feb 16 03:26:42 EST 2010

I wonder if that institution is Sheffield Hallam University? I use to work
there. Quite a few years ago they mothballed a lot of their traditional
animation kit in favour of digital systems. They also did this in the
printmaking department, an area the college was highly reputed in. Since I
left they have even got rid of their purpose built art school buildings
(ugly brutalist 2 storey studios, designed by the same architect who did the
Royal College building, that were brilliant to work in) and relocated into
the basement of the engineering department. I would assume that any
remaining vestiges of traditional kit would have gone as floor area was cut
by 40%. This is the same institution that includes Nick Park (Aardman
animation, famous for creating Wallace and Grommit) amongst its alumni. I
wonder what he would make of the changes.

eca does retain its light-box and drawing approach. Personally I would
rather a bit of both. Although I am not a formalist I do distinguish between
practice that treats a medium as a tool (eg: how Paul Ward describes the use
of computers in his department) and practice that treats it as medium (eg:
seeks to engage the specific characteristics of the medium as core to the
conceptual focus of the work). My own work falls into this latter area,
although I wouldn¹t describe it as animation (some have). I am aware that
there are some animation artists who do work with the specific
characteristics of the medium as key in their conceptual approach.
Svankmajer¹s 1982 Dimensions of Dialogue is a good example here, where he
explores the nature of clay to do very clay-like (but not at all life-like)
things (faces merging into one another, heads eating one another, etc). If
some animation depends on the uncanny valley effect for its power then this
is not it, as there is no attempt at realism. In the digital domain an
artist I mentioned in an earlier post, Larry Cuba, is a good example of a
medium specific approach. Another animator occupying an almost unique
position is Len Lye.



Simon Biggs

s.biggs at eca.ac.uk  simon at littlepig.org.uk  Skype: simonbiggsuk
Research Professor  edinburgh college of art  http://www.eca.ac.uk/
Creative Interdisciplinary Research into CoLlaborative Environments
Electronic Literature as a Model of Creativity and Innovation in Practice

From: Paul Ward <pward at aucb.ac.uk>
Reply-To: soft_skinned_space <empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au>
Date: Mon, 15 Feb 2010 14:37:12 -0000
To: soft_skinned_space <empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au>
Subject: RE: [-empyre-] CG and all things fuzzy

I've recently heard of a UK institution, well-known for Animation, which now
has no light boxes or facilities for students to draw - it has, in effect,
put all its eggs in the computer basket. As Suzanne points out, such moves
(and the institution in question is by no means alone, of course, in having
to 'rationalise' its resources and delivery) are part of the context of cuts
to education.

Edinburgh College of Art (eca) is a charity registered in Scotland, number SC009201

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