[-empyre-] chris sullivan p.S.

Melanie Beisswenger (Asst Prof) Melanie at ntu.edu.sg
Tue Feb 16 16:54:09 EST 2010

Hi Chris,

great topic to bring up. These are the opposite sides of the animation spectrum, from unique visual expression to the 'art of photo realism'. In some way it is almost like asking if a photo realistic painter is a painter or a photographer after all...
As the quest for photo realism in the animation of the human form is the most difficult and thus for some most challenging aspect of animation - the so called holy grail of overcoming the uncanny valley - it has attracted a considerable large following of filmmakers, animators and artist following this route and producing an array of quite awful films with creepy characters on the way. As one of the first examples of overcoming the uncanny valley, 'Benjamin Button' has given us a glimpse of what can be done and I am sure we'll see more digital faces in the future which we won't be able to tell from real. Avatar is a slightly different expression as the navi feaces are not technically human faces, overall superbly executed animation wise.
I am hopeful and do believe that once we have achieved this kind of photo realism in a wider scale, we needn't worry too much about it anymore, as it will free up animators to express themselves even more in new non photo realistic ways.


From: empyre-bounces at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au [empyre-bounces at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au] On Behalf Of christopher sullivan [csulli at saic.edu]
Sent: Tuesday, February 16, 2010 1:11 PM
To: christopher sullivan
Cc: soft_skinned_space
Subject: Re: [-empyre-] chris sullivan p.S.

An interesting thing to think about in terms of form, extremes of crudeness and
rough edges that are a big part of people like Phil Mulloy, Paul Fierlinger, Don
Hertzfeld, Lewis klahr, Martha Collburn, William Kentridge, Yuri Norstien (I
don't think I spelled one of those correct, but time is too precious. All of
these animators expose the material elements of there work, and in ways force a
two dimensional reading of the film surface, Illusion of space it fleeting when
there at all. Yuri Norstien at a talk here in Chicago spoke of how he feels
that the closer you get to an illusion of reality, the farther you get from
what makes animation it's own language. what do people think about illusory and
non illusory cinematic space in animation? Is photo realism, not animation
anymore but digital cinema?
have you seen this stuff. very interesting.

Quoting christopher sullivan <csulli at saic.edu>:

> by the way, I show power and water in my "not quite animation" day in my
> alternative animation history class. It is a wonderful film. you should all
> try
> to get Pat out to show The Decay OF Fiction, his amazing film, that
> unfortunately he does not like, but I sure do. Chris.
> Quoting christopher sullivan <csulli at saic.edu>:
> >
> > 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
> > not.
> > 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
> > 312-345-3802
> > _______________________________________________
> > empyre forum
> > empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
> > http://www.subtle.net/empyre
> >
> 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
> 312-345-3802

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
empyre forum
empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au

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