[-empyre-] Eric Patrick intro

Eric Patrick ericp at northwestern.edu
Tue Feb 16 08:00:08 EST 2010

Hello All,

Eric Patrick here.  Rather than repeat my bio, I'll just jump right 
in...  I've been making animated films now for twenty years, and the one 
thing I've become convinced of is that animation is a ritual act.  My 
own work underscores this in it's experiments with narrative without the 
confines of character development or plot...  rather, I often find 
myself creating associative connections over causal ones.  I'm certainly 
not the first that has noticed this, but perhaps all animators find it 
on their own terms...  small repetitive acts, done over long periods of 
time...  a withdrawal from day to day life.  The very act seems like a 
description of an alchemist's chamber, saying a rosary, kabuki theatre. 

In my particular case, I choose a technique that in some way comments on 
the ideas embedded in my work.  This is one of those things that I find 
to be unique about animation (though I would argue that new media has 
this ability too): the ability to orchestrate the concept into the very 
fabric of the image through the technique that is utilized.  It's that 
relationship between form and content that makes animation quite so 
unique.  That these techniques involve increasingly preoccupied states 
of consciousness only adds to the ritual effect of animation.  It's no 
wonder then that we can see such a wide interest in metaphysics 
throughout animation history.

As an animator stepping into a group dedicated to new media, I'm 
interested in finding where my experience may cross over with yours.  
Perhaps we can also weave with Chris Sullivan's intro, because, as he 
states that technology is a tool but not a subject, I am almost 
inferring that the process can become a subject.  I have shown Pat 
O'Neil's work "Water and Power" to students, and interestingly, they 
told me that it completely changed their relationship to after effects.  
O'Neil's work somehow seems like it could only be conceived and executed 
on an optical printer, though it can obviously very easily be created 
with something like after effects.  While I agree that technology is a 
tool, do certain tools not engender certain kinds of work?


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