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

T Goodeve tgoodeve at gmail.com
Sun Feb 28 05:05:41 EST 2010

Dear Simon, Chris, Suzanne:

Simon! How cruel. I want to fly out there this minute (time metaphor there
we go). Please do promote such things. Sounds fantastic. (Too good about
"Chris Speed ". I went to a bank teller the other day and the name plate
said "James Bank"  I am not a “good eve” though.).

A sense organ for time. What a lovely image. Maybe that is what indeed we
are in total. I am reading “From Eternity to Here” by Sean Carroll and
somehow it makes sense to be reading it and thinking about animation.
Animation just seems to be fundamentally about time, or spacetime more so
even than cinema. -- I have only just thought this. I think there's
something there and maybe I will think about it more at some point, I’d like
to.  But perhaps it’s why we seem to agree animation now has subsumed (but
not “killed” )cinema —and not just because of digital etc  or because of  the
animated feature (and anime) but because , taking on Suzanne’s argument here
which I can’t really do justice to, animation as a metaphysical category, a
way of defining the moving image NOW “animation studies” offers a more
encompassing way of thinking about and discussion these worlds. It’s a
historical argumenst as I see it. But.

 “animation” as a mega-media ontology that cinema, as a historical language
and institution, After these three weeks animation is the uber category
klein bottle which houses the a four dimensional ZOOB modeling system (see
below), for the new species of animated, computation, cinematic moving image
objects that are now breeding out there. Until this discussion I never
thought about “animation” as an uber category, I think new media was given
the hat c/o Lev manovich, but “animation”  with its associations has more
open ness to time, less constriction *to* media (anything can be
animated)—it is movement that animates and time via the repetition and the
result is action based in time. Or something like this. Others can follow.
These are really ideas that are getting ahead of me. I haven’t had coffee
yet. This will take me to answering Suzanne's request re: Michael Joaquin
Grey's work.

But first to Christopher, (and hardy har har by the way!!!) you were the one
who posted the
shift tilt you tube that is so interesting and disturbing but relevant:


The stop motion time lapse transforms the world into an animated child's
world. Someone somewhere in all these posts discussed the world becoming
animated, now here it is all pee wee’s great”big” adventure but it's more
complex than that. The shift/tilt format is a form of animated time and it
fore shortens real time – even documentary time because the news program
leads in saying the artist is making a document about heir city right? It is
familiar but toy storied. Pixar uncanny. Unhomey Shift-tilt time. The
incredibly miniaturized hyper manic shrinking man

Re: Richard and animation and narrative and animation. It’s why animation is
so essential isn’t it. It is the place with no laws. Altthough one works
within vertical and horizontal axes of Cartesian space ,  no physical laws
need be followed. My love of film and literature in my youth was the avant
garde and modernism – anything to bresk from classical models/ anything  that
played with time and narrative—the more non linear the better. Why Because I
wanted to believe time was up for grabs, that it was purely subjective, that
it’s all about social construts and things like that—Proust, Renais, Robbe
Grillet , parallel time, black holes etc…but Sean Carroll makes the obvious
point time has only one direction, even if we can make it go backwards and
sideways in avant garde films, life isn’t an avant garde film  Time has one
direction: forward. You can't reverse a burned house. This is why Martin
Amis's “Time's Arrow” is so brilliant – because he writes the actions
reversed so the SS officers actions in the death camps, as he lives them
become acts of reversals into life. It’s amazing. But Amis is unusual.
“Memento” did not work. Everything had to go forward as it went backward so
it never went backward. Cinema is so dependent on narrative.

I just read Richard’s post. I thought he had said the opposite!—why has
animation been so free of non-narrative. But he said the opposite because he
was referring to feature animation! I guess I was thinking of smaller and
probably more experimental hand drawn animation.

Animation and Time: Is this an old saw: La Jetee? The ultimate film about
time. But can we bring it into a discussion of time and animation perhaps
only because of the amount of time between frames -- 24 frames per second
for each length of the shot that equals a still photograph, except for the
one moment of "movement" when the woman blinks and looks at us.  But just
for purposes of us here in this discussion, can it be included as a kind of
cine animation? Is this interesting re: defining animation vs. cinema re:
time.? A much bigger discussion but just curious. Are there two such times?
 In researching animation relevant to the Quays I found an animated film
Chris Marker made with the animator Borowczyk. [By the way Christopher: I’m
kind of in a pickle as to referring to the Quays. It’s why I was asked to
participate and Suzanne ‘s written a book on them and we’re lucky to have
her input and there’s only a few more days so hold on, soon empire will be
onto other things. I’ve learned a lot about other animators in the meantime
, you among them.]

Finally, thank you Suzanne for your response a few posts ago to the sound
question -- your book will fill in so much for us all and there is so much
to look into.

Re: Michael Joaquin Grey


oi vey

His website is not up to date and his work is very varied and hard to
summarize but what is relevant here are what he calls his computational
films  or "dream anatomies." I'll describe the one that was at P.S. 1 this
summer with his exhibition and also showed along with other works of his at
the premier of Sundance a few weeks ago.

Here is his press release.

*Playing with a unifying metaphysics of the micro, macro and media worlds, *

*Michael Joaquin Grey presents new computational cinema works that
re-envision *

*critical moments in culture and phenomena.*

* *

*Grey creates software to break down film into its basic primitives -- the
building blocks*

*of media. He captures body signals and sound to reanimate and dematerialize
existing media*

*and create 'film objects', 'cellular films' and ‘dream anatomies’ of our
familiar media body. *

*The computational works are not recorded but are dynamic systems performed
in real time. *

*Often there are relationships that can be created between sound and image
in time and space *

*that could not exist with recorded video or film. The works may synchronize
with your own body*

*to create new synesthetic and proprioceptive cinema experiences. *

* *

*In ‘Perpetual ZOOZ’ the artist and his mother’s heartbeat (biological
signals) are used to*

*reanimate the "Wizard of OZ" into a 'film object'  (Madonna and Child). The
film is transformed into a 3D object *

*through the union of 2 films playing simultaneously in space and revolving
back to back on their own axis; *

*one film moves forward in time while one moves backward, each conducted by
their respective heartbeats. *

*The two films meet only at one point in time, the moment in the film
Dorothy opens the door to enter ‘OZ’ as the film *

*transitions from black & white into color.*

This is on his website but it is not the real thing at all because
it must be shown as a live action object because that's what it is i.e. the
visual data is of the wizard of oz and the algorythm of his mohter's and his
own heartbeat is run through a super computer so it is A LIVING OBJECT. It
is literally animated then. Yet it works with film and on the computer in
real time. The visual information of *The Wizard of Oz* is projected going
forward in one direction, and backward in the other. At only one point they
meet. You become an "embodier" rather than a viewer-- the frequency begins
to affect your own body rhythm. It is a very uncanny experience both
visually and physically. There is the added effect of the film as a cultural
memory on top of the knowledge of the heartbeat of a mother and son. It is
all about animation in terms of the body, cinema, technology, etc... he
calls it a "dream anatomy."

I think I’ve said enough for this pot.

Cheers everyone.


On Sat, Feb 27, 2010 at 1:05 AM, christopher sullivan <csulli at saic.edu>wrote:

> Hi Richard, there are plenty of non-linear narrative animations, not too
> many
> feature ones, but then there are not all that many feature length
> animations.
> here are a few animators, off the top of my head, and the Quay's as well;
> janie
> Gieser. Lewis Klahr, Nancu Andrews, me Chris Sullivan, Jim Trainor, Simon
> Pummel, Amy Kravitze, Karen Yasinsky, Lilli Carre, Patrick Smith, Don
> Hertzfeld, Rose Bond, Joshua Mosely, Jim Duesing, Pritt Parn, Brent Green,
> Piotr Dumala, and check out the nice work funded by the organization,
> Animate
> Projects, great british wonders. have a good night. Chris.
> Quoting Richard Wright <futurenatural at blueyonder.co.uk>:
> > 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.
> > >
> > >
> > >
> >
> >
> 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
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