[-empyre-] animation and short term memory (was, a long time ago: interpreting datasets, etc)

Christina Spiesel christina.spiesel at yale.edu
Sun Feb 28 05:58:59 EST 2010

This may be as much a matter of what is regarded as relevant training as 
it is to working conditions. If training is primarily begun in mastering 
very difficult software rather than in art making with the tools being 
factored in a little later, it is easy for this to happen.


Richard Wright wrote:
> I always liked the quality in the Quay films where time seems to lose 
> all its reference points. Those shots of dust settling or shadows 
> dancing where you are no longer sure whether you are watching in 
> "realtime" or over the course of hundreds of years.
> This also made me wonder why certain kinds of narrative and time are 
> almost never used in animation. For instance, why are there no 
> non-linear narrative animations? They are not that uncommon in live 
> action films - I am thinking of Memento that goes backwards in story 
> time (with one b/w stream going forwards), Amores Perros that jumps 
> repeatedly backwards and forwards, The Hours with its parallel 
> storylines running in different historical times periods. The only 
> example of an animated film that has anything like these kinds of 
> narrative structure is Waltz with Bashir with its persistent 
> flashbacks. And that was made by a live action director.
> I wonder if this has something to do with the way that animators work, 
> concentrating as they do on building up a sequence of actions bit by 
> bit, are they generally less directed towards the larger narrative 
> structures of time? By focusing on the duration of the immediate 
> event, is it as though they assume a sort of "short term memory"?
> Richard
> On 25 Feb 2010, at 03:34, T Goodeve wrote:
>> Hello everyone:
>> Sorry I’ve been so lax as a discussant-generator but here I am with 
>> some thoughts and reflections. If it’s okay just an aside first: off 
>> the top of my fingertips—many of you make stuff you love and live 
>> for, also write about with great passion, and the animated worldscape 
>> is still and ever will be one of magic and wonder I hope (you have 
>> the romantic here), i.e., endless visual and aural reimagings via its 
>> ability, or definition, whether anlogue or digital, to do anything 
>> and everything within and beyond the spacetime continuum. But 
>> sometimes I miss the basic humor, wonder, and sheer “wow” of the 
>> simplicity of animation. I mentioned in a post. The blank page and 
>> the dot. We lose track, myself included, analyzing the life out of 
>> things sometimes and to do this with animation seems particularly 
>> perverse. I realize I set myself up for a bit of ridicule here but 
>> alas, someone has to speak up for the puppet doll in /Street of 
>> Crocodiles/ who cradles the bare light bulb baby in its arm and 
>> brings it back to life with light, or the frayed and earnest bunny 
>> who does his best to keep up with the spinning demented ping pong 
>> balls and a pair of disembodied knee socks and slippers moving up and 
>> down on tip toes in the Quays “Are We Still Married” —up and down, up 
>> and down. I think Christopher Sullivan was trying to get at this but 
>> not everyone is out to do what he does nor interested in the way I am 
>> or the Quays or for that matter, those who use it for visualization, 
>> but depending on why you do what you do we are here to discuss the 
>> breakthrough insights of theory and technology and animation, but 
>> it’s just sometimes I’ve felt we’ve let the technology get away with 
>> doing too much of the talking, not that it doesn’t have a lot to say.
>> But a more hardy, if overly general, topic is temporality and time, 
>> now-time vs say the way cinema’s capturing, sculpting, control of 
>> time was such a huge part of its magic. Siegfried Kracauer describe 
>> in an essay how powerful just “having” the wind in the trees —a 
>> moment— captured on film is for him. How different from one of my 
>> students when I showed some film, perhaps Tarkovsky,” Why does he 
>> keep leaving the camera on the trees so long?” Students of cinema are 
>> different. We know this: ADD and short digitized attention spans. But 
>> how do you see this in your worlds of animation either in terms of 
>> resistance or something emerging that is part of this. One thing I 
>> thought was very relevant was the post of the shift tilt which is 
>> amazing and disturbing in this respect. Lots to say about it: not 
>> only the time lapse but the way the world is miniaturized. Here the 
>> real profilmic world is literally made into an stop motion animated 
>> “cartoon”. One could talk about the Quays work and time – both in 
>> terms of period and affect; rhythm and texture of their worlds (/In 
>> Absentia/, the film they made with Stockhausen, is in some ways about 
>> light/time, metaphorically written all at once over and over (the 
>> character n the film) hence no time. Endless time. Speed of light… 
>>  .) But I do not know what people have seen. I am more interested in 
>> hearing you all discuss temporality and animation “today”—both 
>> theoretically and examples. These discussions are so energetic. They 
>> amaze me.
>> Thanks, Thyrza
>> On Wed, Feb 24, 2010 at 12:39 AM, christopher sullivan 
>> <csulli at saic.edu <mailto:csulli at saic.edu>> wrote:
>>     Hi Richard, I am the guy that wants animations about love, hate,
>>     birth, sex, and
>>     death.(not necessarily in that order)
>>     your rules of engagement leave me a little cold. why would this
>>     be a goal?
>>     "greatest possible distance between
>>      human senses and computer code that is achievable through the
>>      simplest material means"
>>     what part of the human condition would make this a mandate?
>>     why would this be effective, or rather effective at doing what?
>>     I know I am being a little aggressive here, but this is coming from
>>     someone who does not think Data means anything, nor does emulsion.
>>     chris.
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