[-empyre-] Eric Patrick intro

christopher sullivan csulli at saic.edu
Tue Feb 16 11:36:46 EST 2010

Hi Eric, I do think that certain technologies or circumstances dictate trends in
work. For instance the non verbal history of independent art films in the 70's
and 80's, was directly related to issues of french versus English in Canada,
and the fact that the Netherlands, Italy, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, where
important places that could not count on language to engage a wider world. 

And for that matter the frame by frame process does break down time and lead to
different ways of looking at the world. But I am questioning starting with
formal notions of Code, or digital culture as subjects. I guess it gets back to
notions of modernist painting, which is about putting color on a flat surface. 
All of the great works that I am attracted to in animation, have something
inherently frame by frame about them, but there is an underlying content that
is being negotiated. 

I think that animation because of it's labor, tends to give birth to the
wondering pilgrim, the emptied city, the lone figure in a minimal world,
because you just can't draw fifty people, CGI is changing this, but these
limits are good too. They are like the limits of independent theater, no dance
numbers, no effects, just words and a few bodies. I also think that the limits
of animation, create a need to condense time, in ways that live action does
and this leads to it's odd sense of time, I hope you have all seen Cat Soup,
amazing time play in that film.

Quoting Eric Patrick <ericp at northwestern.edu>:

> 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?
> best,
> Eric

Christopher Sullivan
Dept. of Film/Video/New Media
School of the Art Institute of Chicago
112 so michigan
Chicago Ill 60603
csulli at saic.edu

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