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

Richard Wright futurenatural at blueyonder.co.uk
Sun Feb 28 03:37:39 EST 2010

I just saw this advert on another list. I expect they probably don't  
extend this "history of the timeline" into the practice of animation  
and film. Yet it seems logical to suppose such investigations might  
be relevant to the way we work...

Cartographies of Time
A history of the Timeline...
Image - http://www.finebooksmagazine.com/issue/201001/graphics/ 
Daniel Rosenberg , Anthony Grafton

ISBN 9781568987637
8.5 x 10.5 inches (21.6 x 26.7 cm), Hardcover , 272 pages
268 color illustrations ; 40 b/w illustrations
Available (publication date 5/1/2010) Rights: World;

 From the most ancient images to the contemporary, the line has  
served as the central figure in the representation of time. The  
linear metaphor is ubiquitous in everyday visual representations of  
time—in almanacs, calendars, charts, and graphs of all sorts. Even  
our everyday speech is filled with talk of time having a "before" and  
an "after" or being "long" and "short." The timeline is such a  
familiar part of our mental furniture that it is sometimes hard to  
remember that we invented it in the first place. And yet, in its  
modern form, the timeline is not even 250 years old. The story of  
what came before has never been fully told, until now.

Cartographies of Time is the first comprehensive history of graphic  
representations of time in Europe and the United States from 1450 to  
the present. Authors Daniel Rosenberg and Anthony Grafton have  
crafted a lively history featuring fanciful characters and unexpected  
twists and turns. From medieval manuscripts to websites,  
Cartographies of Time features a wide variety of timelines that in  
their own unique ways—curving, crossing, branching—defy conventional  
thinking about the form. A fifty-four-foot-long timeline from 1753 is  
mounted on a scroll and encased in a protective box. Another timeline  
uses the different parts of the human body to show the genealogies of  
Jesus Christ and the rulers of Saxony. Ladders created by  
missionaries in eighteenth-century Oregon illustrate Bible stories in  
a vertical format to convert Native Americans. Also included is the  
April 1912 Marconi North Atlantic Communication chart, which tracked  
ships, including the Titanic, at points in time rather than by their  
geographic location, alongside little-known works by famous figures,  
including a historical chronology by the mapmaker Gerardus Mercator  
and a chronological board game patented by Mark Twain. Presented in a  
lavishly illustrated edition, Cartographies of Time is a revelation  
to anyone interested in the role visual forms have played in our  
evolving conception of history.

On 26 Feb 2010, at 23:08, 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> 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.
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
> http://www.subtle.net/empyre

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: https://mail.cofa.unsw.edu.au/pipermail/empyre/attachments/20100227/d343cd0a/attachment.html 

More information about the empyre mailing list