Animate Projects: Female Figures

On Thursday 2 July at 6pm, artists Jessica Ashman, Anna Bunting-Branch, Birgitta Hosea and Michelle Kranot will present their work and discuss the opportunities and challenges of working with live performance and technology. All four work with animation in their practice and are going beyond the single screen to create immersive worlds where performance is integrated into their work. More info here: https://animateprojects.org/accelerate-sessions-female-figures


[Birgitta Hosea, Virus, (performance/installation, 1996)]

There will be a Q&A led by Animate Projects producer Abigail Addison, where you will have the opportunity to ask questions of the speakers.

Join us on Thursday, 2 July, 6-7pm, on Zoom. The event is free. As spaces are limited please register here: https://bit.ly/3dUy1g3

Sensory Spaces

[Image ©Valkyrie Industries]

Sensory Spaces is a new research project bringing together StoryFutures Immersive Fellow, CTO and co-founder of Valkyrie Industries, Dr Ivan Isakov; UCA’s Dr Birgitta Hosea, Reader in Moving Image and Dr Camille Baker, Reader Interface & Interaction to develop a toolkit for sculpting in virtual reality using Valkyrie Industries cutting-edge haptic gloves.

Work to date indicates that there is importance and value in the use of sensory experiences made possible through newly emerging immersive technologies. This is already well understood in other sectors including clinical interventions in health and wellbeing as well as virtual training in enterprise, engineering and advanced manufacturing. Touch and the use of haptic technologies is increasingly a part of creative storytelling in arts and entertainment as well. Working with existing headsets and haptic tools, this project aims to explore ways in which the public could animate, build or augment their world, or an imagined world, and feel their creation.

As part of our research we are auditing tools, materials and processes used in both traditional sculpture and CGI modelling in order to develop intuitive virtual sculpting tools. Are you working in this area? If so we’d like to hear from you if you model in 3d – either using CGI, VR or even traditional analogue sculptural processes. Please fill out this short survey to share your experience of your tools: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1uJfNfjpHyyesHWYS2FBDAXVZ3E82-rG1SyQ_ARU71ow/edit?usp=sharing

Gender*uck

Art in Flux / National Gallery X

Talk: 6.30-8pm Tues 16th June 2020
Book free ticket: https://www.artinfluxlondon.com/gender_uck.html#
Exhibition: https://www.artinfluxlondon.com/gender_uck_online_exhibition.html

Gender*uck01

Media arts question boundaries and definitions of societal concepts, including notions and conceptions of gender. Gender*uck presents a next generation of artists investigating boundaries of gender concepts. These young artists investigate gender fluid representation in diverse media: Where does technology empower, where does it limit our conceptions of self and other? How can we look beyond binary forms of representations in the context of the binary and digital in new media. In a tech-centric world of media abundance, what roles can artists play in questioning gender norms, gender representations and gender normativity?

Gender*ck02

Paul Kindersley looks at gender normalisations in youtube make-up tutorials. Drucilla Burrell investigates esthetics beyond gender definitions through her fine art photography series. Media artist Birgitta Hosea discusses gender in her animation and performance practice. Paula Callus is presenting her work with Nigerian women artists from an anthropological angle focusing upon the culturally located experiences of gender. James Nasmyth will present a photobooth that subverts gender conceptions. Artist Jake Elwes explores alternative gender representations in the context of machine learning algorithms: What happens when computers try to find patterns of beauty beyond gender concepts and their mathematical confinements. Last but not least, Ro Greengrass’s investigates non-binary concepts through their art and music creation. Talks by Birgitta Hosea, Jake Elwes and Paula Callus will be contextualised by artist demos.

Together these artists discuss limitations, possibilities and the future of technology for art forms beyond gender in the context of New Media – in an evening curated by Art in Flux Co-founder Olive Gingrich.

Ecstatic Truth V: A Journal and A Postponement

Dear All,

we wanted to share the good news that selected papers from Ecstatic Truth IV – Truth of Matter: process and perception in expanded animation practice (2019) have now been published in The International Journal of Film and Media Arts, Vol 4 No 2 and are available here: https://revistas.ulusofona.pt/index.php/ijfma/issue/view/746.

We are looking forward to compiling a new issue of the journal with papers from the next Ecstatic Truth at a future date, however, as it stands, Ecstatic Truth V: The Age of the Absurd will no longer be taking place in Vienna in April 2020 nor will the Under_the_Radar Festival that is hosting it. We were so excited about the quality of the proposals that we received this year and the cross currents and dialogue that could be generated from the programme that we are determined for the event to still go ahead at a later date and are working at finding an alternative time once international travel has normalised.

Best wishes for good health to you and your loved ones

Birgitta Hosea, Pedro Serrazina, Tereza Stehlikova (on behalf of Ecstatic Truth)

Holger Lang (on behalf of Under_the_Radar)

Call for papers: Synaesthetic Syntax

Expanded Animation 2020 –
Synaesthetic Syntax: Sounding Animation / Visualising Audio


[Image from Oregon Symphony Orchestra’s performance of Luciano Berio’s Sinfonia, courtesy of Rose Bond, 2020]

Submission deadline: 17th May 2020
Symposium details: Sunday 13th September 2020, Ars Electronica, Linz, Austria.
Submission link: https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=ea2020

Faced with the infinite possibilities of faking through digital production, might there be a craving to return to that which is material and sensible: work that is improvised, spontaneous and can be experienced fully with all the senses? A move away from simulated, synthetic perfection to the handcrafted and the imperfect, which evidences the trace of human touch and intimate presence?

This year the Expanded Animation events at Ars Electronica extend into a dialogue about relationships between the senses, in particular the auditory and the visual. What are the rules, principles, and processes that govern correlations between sound and animation? How might these be explored, unpacked and reassembled?

Keynote Speaker


Our Keynote Speaker is media artist, Rose Bond, who produces work at the juncture of cinema, animation and experiential design. She will be presenting her latest animated collaboration with the Oregon Symphony Orchestra on a live performance of Luciano Berio’s Sinfonia.

Submission Guidelines


In response to these themes, we call for academics and artists to propose 20-minute papers that bring the disciplines of music, audio art and animation together from a variety of perspectives: from historical or theoretical analysis to new and surprising practice.

The proposal should include an abstract of no more than 500 words (including references) and a short biography of no more than 200 words.

Submission is via Easy Chair at https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=ea2020 where you will be prompted to set up a free Easy Chair account.

All selected speakers will be given a free pass to the 2020 Ars Electronica Festival.

List of Topics


Suggested topics include:

Hearing Colour Seeing Sound
Can music become visual? How did pioneers of visual music such as Oskar Fischinger and Mary Ellen Bute translate melody, harmony and rhythm into the form of animation? And can moving drawings become music? Is Oramics, Daphne Oram’s drawn sound machine, a form of animation? How can historic and / or contemporary practice demonstrate synaesthetic syntax?

In front of your eyes and ears
With a perceived disparity between the slow time taken to create animation and the instant time taken to perform music, how can animation be performed live? Can the audio and the visual be combined in improvised performance? How can live, hand scribing or music notation or coding or drawing be used to conjure spontaneous audio-visual performance? What is gained from real-time, instant creation in the present moment?

Rhythmanalysis
Repetition and difference is at the heart of rhythm, at the heart of the algorithm, at the heart of animation, at the heart of lived experience. Rhythm is everywhere. From the natural – visceral, internal rhythms of the body breathing and the heart pumping or the slow changing of the seasons; to the artificial – externally imposed rhythms ordering us through the ticktock of mechanical  clock-time or the ebb and flow of economic cycles. How does rhythm connect audio and animation? What might animation learn from audio and music theory and vice versa?

A Return to the Material
In an age of digital synthesis is there a craving for a return to the material? Do we long for haptic feedback and analogue experience: the touch of guitar strings, the feel of charcoal smearing under the fingers, banging a drum, painting on film? Is this simply a form of nostalgia or might it be thought through in new ways? How can it be brought together in the audio-visual?

Movement and Gesture
Whether performing an instrument or making marks for drawing, the gestural is a core part of human expression. How can kinaesthetic gesture be explored to create new kinds of audio-visual experiences?

Organising Committee


The organisation is a collaboration between:

Venue


The conference will be held as part of Ars Electronica in Linz, Austria.

[Disclaimer – we are operating under the assumption that social distancing will no longer be required in September and ‘normality’ has been restored].

Contact


All questions about submissions should be emailed to <animationresearch@uca.ac.uk>

Animating the Spirited

Animating the Spirited: Journeys and Transformations, Eds. Hu, Yokota, Harvath (University Press of Mississippi, 2020)

Time on your hands for some reading? Out now! This new anthology considers the spiritual side of anime and animation from a range of different traditions with a chapter on using drawn animation as a form of mindful meditation with students written by myself and Graham Barton. Other contributors to the book are Raz Greenberg, Gyongyi Horvath, Tze-yue G. Hu, Yin Ker, M. Javad Khajavi, Richard J. Leskosky, Yuk Lan Ng, Giryung Park, Eileen Anastasia Reynolds, Akiko Sugawa-Shimada, Koji Yamamura, Masao Yokota, and Millie Young

Getting in touch with a spiritual side is a craving many are unable to express or voice, but readers and viewers seek out this desired connection to something greater through animation, cinema, anime, and art. Animating the Spirited: Journeys and Transformations includes a range of explorations of the meanings of the spirited and spiritual in the diverse, dynamic, and polarized creative environment of the twenty-first century. While animation is at the heart of the book, such related subjects as fine art, comics, children’s literature, folklore, religion, and philosophy enrich the discoveries. These interdisciplinary discussions range from theory to practice, within the framework of an ever-changing media landscape. Working on different continents and coming from varying cultural backgrounds, these diverse scholars, artists, curators, and educators demonstrate the insights of the spirited.

Authors also size up new dimensions of mental health and related expressions of human living and interactions. While the book recognizes and acknowledges the particularities of the spirited across cultures, it also highlights its universality, demonstrating how it is being studied, researched, comprehended, expressed, and consumed in various parts of the world.

Edited by Tze-yue  G. Hu, Masao Yokota and Gyongyi Harvath for University Press of Mississippi, this book adds a new rich layer of discourses to the field of Animation Studies. More info here: https://www.upress.state.ms.us/Books/A/Animating-the-Spirited

Beg, Steal and Borrow 25/2-7/3/20

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Beg, Steal and Borrow opens Tuesday (25th) at Bermondsey Project Space, 183 Bermondsey Street, London SE1 3UW. Artists in the show:

Andreas Schmidt, Birgitta Hosea, Gavin Turk, Haley Morris Cafiero, Jessica Voorsanger, John Stezaker, Melinda Gibson, Ori Gersht, Philip Colbert, Simon Patterson, Steffi Klenz, Stuart Hilton, Yinka Shonibare.
Curated by Jean Wainwright

The artists in Beg, Steal and Borrow, remix and inventively recreate, they use what is already out there to fashion new work and raise questions.  Interconnected in their dynamic engagement their work is multi-layered, mining references to other art works or contemporary issues, from art history to archival material, colonial history to online bullying.


Works by Birgitta Hosea that will be showing in the exhibition and include snippets of sound appropriated from classic films:

OutThereintheDark_LethabyGallery-2008Out There in the Dark (2008) Video documentation of my first live performance of this work at Lethaby Gallery, old Central Saint Martins. Possessed by the spirit of Gloria Swanson’s performance in Sunset Boulevard (1950), I become half animator and half animated.

Medium_CarolineKerslake
Medium (2010) Video documentation of my second series of live performances of this work curated by Sarah Sparkes at St John’s Church in which I channel mediated spirits and electronic ectoplasm.


As part of the exhibition  there will be two round table discussions with some of the artists to discuss their work in the show:

29.02.20  2pm to 3pm Followed by drinks

  • Jessica Voorsanger
  • Jean Wainwright
  • Birgitta Hosea
  • Simon Patterson

07.02.20

  • Melinda Gibson
  • Haley Morris-Cafiero
  • Stuart Hilton
  • Philip Colbert
  • Jean Wainwright

Catalogue essay: Performing the memetic’, Birgitta Hosea, 2020

All through Camera Lucida, the French writer Roland Barthes, writing in 1980 in his influential book on photography mourns for his recently departed mother. After her death, alone in the apartment they shared together, he studies all the old photographs of her that he can find – trying to find a particular image that will recapture her for him, trying to find out about the life she led, trying to know her. How disappointing the images seem to him as he searches, how incomplete, for how could these photographs re-animate the dead. These fleeting images preserve a mere shadow of time that has passed. The photograph contains a ‘defeat of time’ (Barthes 2000, p.96) – we see once living beings, but we are reminded that they are mortal, impermanent and that one day they will die. They are removed from their living, breathing, evolving context and embalmed in one pose, mortified for one brief moment of time.

Barthes argues that a photograph is indexical. It is defined through being a trace of that which once was. A photograph is a historical document, a ‘certificate of presence’ (Barthes 2000, p.87) a testament that something once existed. The correlation between truth and the visual has deep seated roots in our culture. Tom Gunning notes the original visual meaning of Eidos, the Greek word for idea (Gunning 1995, p.42), whereas Marina Warner points out that underpinning Western thought comes the deep rooted Christian notion that while magic and illusion are the work of the devil , the truth needs to be witnessed, to be seen with the naked eye. (Warner 2006, p.54) However, because something was once present in front of the camera and now appears in the photographic image, we are reminded that, although it was once true, it is from the past. Now the subject is absent and that time is no longer here.

Contrary to this idea of the documentary ‘truth’ of photography, the photographs and films included in Beg, Steal and Borrow certificate no presence. Rather they are testament and witness to borrowing, to stealing, to fakery. They do not attempt to present historical authenticity. In their re-presentation and re-performance of appropriated images and sounds, these works defy the logic of the indexical. Their reference is not to nature but to culture, not to self but to Other: to the ghosts of pervasive media that saturate our waking lives.

Interviewed in ‘Ghost Dance’ (dir. Ken McMullen, 1983, UK / West Germany, Channel 4 Films), Jacques Derrida is asked if he believes in ghosts. He replies that in the film in which he appears he is the ghost. Furthermore, he says he himself is haunted by ghosts – haunted by the ghost of Marx, the ghost of Freud, the ghost of Kafka, the dematerialised body of their ideas, the disembodied representations of who they once were. The works gathered together in Beg, Steal and Borrow show artists haunted by images and sounds from the mediated networks that surround them. From popular culture – the image of the rock star, the celebrity artist, the cartoon alter-ego, the classic Hollywood movie; from social media – the internet troll, the amateur adventurer; from history – the traumatic archival image, national or colonial symbol; from art history – the canonical work of art, these contemporary memes from Western consumer culture are echoed through the distorting mirror of the artists’ perspective and transmitted to the viewer.

The term ‘meme’ comes from Richard Dawkins book The Selfish Gene (1970) and is taken to mean a ‘unit of culture’ that behaves like a virus. A meme could be a visual symbol, a gesture, an idea, a belief, etc. It is a construct, not a truth and may have little basis in fact or evidence. The meme is hosted in the mind of an individual and then replicated and spread through culture until it is propagated in the minds of others as if it were a plague with a life force of its own. Transmitted via culture, the meme is, therefore, culturally (and historically) specific. Constantly infiltrating our consciousness, memes infect us to the extent that we internalise and embody them through repetitive rituals until they become real and idea becomes flesh.

The repetitive processes by which we form our gender identity from the cultural context we are part of has been theorised by Judith Butler as ‘performativity’. For Butler, performance is an act that defines our very being. The concept comes from her reading of linguistics in which a performative speech act is a phrase that has an audience and performs the act it describes, e.g. “I apologize”, “I bet you”, “I thee wed”, “I come out to you”. Butler develops this idea further. A performative act, in Butler’s terms, is an existential act in which one seeks to be­come that which one enacts. Butler further argues that our sense of self is a fragile construct that must be constantly performed as a role in order to be maintained.

Becoming celebrity, becoming artist, becoming imposter, becoming bully, becoming female, becoming cartoon – many of the works in this show directly engage with the physical re-performance of memes. The artist’s body becomes possessed by the meme: performatively embodying it rather than externalising it as representation.

References

Barthes, R., 2000. Camera Lucida, London: Vintage Classics.

Butler, J., 1995. “Burning Acts, Injurious Speech”. In A. Parker & E. Kosofsky Sedgwick , eds. Performativity and Performance,  London; New York: Routledge, 1995.

Gunning, T., 1995. “Phantom Images and Modern Manifestations: Spirit Photography, Magic Theater, Trick Films, and Photography’s Uncanny.” In P. Petro, ed. Fugitive Images: From Photography to Video. Bloomington and Indiana: Indiana University Press.

Warner, M., 2006. Phantasmagoria: Spirit Visions, Metaphors, and Media in the Twenty-first Century, Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press.


Selected shots from the Show

Curator Jean Wainwright setting up

Carriage Clock, Yinka Shonibare, 2019
Carriage Clock, Yinka Shonibare, 2019
Fake Fake Art, Andreas Schmidt, 2012-20
Fake Fake Art, Andreas Schmidt, 2012-20
Photomontage, Melinda Gibson, 2012-20
Mikrokosmos, Simon Patterson, 2019
Whale Watching, Haley Morris-Cafiero, 2018
Gavin Turk with his Pop Head, 2011 (image by Jean Wainwright)
Untitled from the Series Beun, Steffi Klenz, 2015-6

 

 

Andy Warhol (Amanda Root), Jessica Voorsanger, 2010
Video works by Birgitta Hosea and Stuart Hilton
Video works by Birgitta Hosea and Stuart Hilton
Injured Expert (still), Stuart Hilton, 2020
Injured Expert (still), Stuart Hilton, 2020
Injured Expert (still), Stuart Hilton, 2020
Birgitta Hosea with Medium and Out There in the Dark (image by Sandra Louison)

Cartoon Animation: Satire and Subversion Full Programme

SteveBellGuardian13-2-20
[Keynote speaker Steve Bell ©Steve Bell/The Guardian, 13/2/2020]

Delighted to announce that we will be live streaming this event at:
https://estream.ucreative.ac.uk/View.aspx?e=G15_RG21
Please note that the link will not be live until Monday morning.

Schedule for the day:

9.30-10.00 Registration/Coffee

10.00-10.05 Opening Remarks Tom Lowe / Dr Birgitta Hosea

10.05-10.50 Keynote 1 Dr Sharon Lockyer (Brunel University London)

10.50-12.00 Panel 1: Performing satire

Dr Maggie Gray( Kingston School of Art), Pierre Floquet (Bordeaux INP, France), Kate Jessop (University of Brighton)

12.00-12.20 Coffee Break

12.20-13.30 Panel 2: Absurdity and the destabilisation of authority 

Prof. Fran Lloyd (Kingston School of Art), Sarah Tehan (Belfast School of Art, Ulster University) David Wischer (University of Kentucky, USA)

13.30-14.30 Lunch Break

14.30-15.30 Keynote 2 Steve Bell 

15.30-16.00 Coffee Break

16.00-17.10 Panel 3: Politics and propaganda from print to the pixel

Dr. Driss Faddouli (Chouaib Doukkali University, El Jadida, Morocco) Prof. Paul Ward (Arts University Bournemouth) Dr. José L. Valhondo-Creg (Universidad de Extremadura, Spain)

17.10-17.40     Closing discussion with all panellists

17.40-18.00     Curator introduction to exhibition Jim Walker (UCA)

18.00-20.00    Bob Godfrey: A Collaborative Act Exhibition opens with drinks in James Hockey Gallery

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Presenter Details and Abstracts

croppedSharon Lockyer Social and Political Sciences 1

Keynote 1: Dr Sharon Lockyer

Sharon Lockyer is a Reader in Sociology and Communications and the founding director of the Centre for Comedy Studies Research (CCSR) at Brunel University London, UK. Her research interests include critical comedy studies, identity politics and comic media representations and the sociology of popular culture, and she is widely published in these areas in books, journal articles and blogs. Recent work in these areas has been published in Feminist Media StudiesInternational Journal of CommunicationDisability & Society and The Journal of Popular Television. She is the founding co-editor of the Palgrave Studies in Comedy book series and was executive board member-at-large for the International Society for Humor Studies (ISHS) from 2016-2019.

Dr Maggie Gray, ‘Cartooning and Performance: ‘Cartoon Style’ Alternative Theatre’

Experimental alternative theatre groups of the 1970s and 80s developed a form of performance that came to be known as ‘cartoon theatre’. This meant not only drawing on cartoon characters, conventions and imagery, but developing a distinctive ‘cartoon style’ mode of presentation – a stripped-down, fast-paced, surreal and stylised approach to narrative, abbreviated characterisation, and emphasis on breaks and movement between action. As an approach this was seen to match wider political aims to create rebellious, dynamic, anti-naturalist forms of theatre that could radically deconstruct and transform the world. In connection with the way alternative theatre drew on traditions of popular performance like music hall, cartooning was also seen as a carnivalesque visual mode appropriate to the non-traditional performance spaces like the street, pub, club, trade union hall, arts lab, picket line and community centre in which these groups performed, and attuned to the working class, countercultural and marginalised audiences they wanted to engage.

This paper will explore how and why these theatre collectives appropriated cartooning for the purposes of artistic and political subversion and what this suggests about the politics and aesthetics of cartooning. Drawing on archival research, it focuses on the work of C.A.S.T. (Cartoon Archetypical Slogan Theatre), a working-class socialist theatre ‘gang’ who pioneered this kind of performance. C.A.S.T. produced a series of short, improvised plays centred on iterations of an ‘Arch-typical’ Muggins character, and developed an anarchic, condensed, quick-fire and highly physical style of production. Described as ‘presentationalism’, this was designed to grab the attention of audiences in the way pop cultural forms like rock’n’roll, and comic books did, and to hold a subversive satirical mirror to social reality that attested to the possibilities of its radical alteration.

Bio: Maggie Gray lectures in Critical and Historical Studies at Kingston University, UK. Her research has focused on the history of British comics, in particular, the work of Alan Moore. Her book, Alan Moore, Out from the Underground: Cartooning, Performance and Dissent, which looked at Moore’s early work as a cartoonist in relation to his wider practice as a musician, poet, playwright and illustrator, was published by Palgrave in 2017. She is particularly interested in the performative aspects of comics, and the politics of performance thereby invoked. She is currently researching the intersections of the alternative theatre and alternative comics movements in the UK (1968-1990).

Pierre Floquet ‘Tex Avery as the Noah Webster of Cartoons’

A selection of iconic and more remote characters, of various cultural and moral issues are looked upon as as many telling examples of what Avery brought forward and played with over his twenty years or so of creation, as he developed his own style both in storytelling and aesthetics.

This analysis is both centripetal and centrifugal. What inspired him? The chronology of his cartoons both claims a very strong bound with US culture at large, and reflects the evolution of the latter. Meanwhile, as in a give-and-take momentum, Avery would interact with contemporary animators (Disney, the Fleischers, UPA artists), and with fellow artists from Hollywood studios. As a result Avery would participate in an informal creative pool, beyond and within his own team of animators, he would inspire with his own vision of the craft (C Jones, B Clampett, UPA, among others).

Consequently, Avery triggered out some original artistic standards in animation, which still prevail today. This was made possible as his films can hardly ever be considered as “one-offs”; beyond themes and characters, they follow a fairly strict set of recurrent codes of narration and representation. Avery simultaneously suggests cultural and moral subversion, and yet celebrates and abides by mainstream Hollywood / US social expectations (the issue of satire is to be discussed). As it is, one may speak of a cinematic comic language. Actually, in the long run, spectators are able to watch and spot / read and decrypt a given situation with its corresponding sound-effects, its iconographic denotation, its narrative offset. From there on Avery establishes a privileged pragmatic relation with them, and then plays with their expectations, either satisfying or – comically – frustrating them before he may carry them away into one further gag.

Bio: Pierre Floquet teaches English, and is associate professor at Bordeaux INP. He wrote on linguistics applied to animation film, organized Avery retrospectives and conferences, and was a juror at animation festivals in France and abroad. He has extended his focus to live action, participating in French and international books and journals. He edited CinémAnimationS (2007), and published Le Langage comique de Tex Avery (2009). His recent works and articles deal with film aesthetics, movement in animation film, the interactions between content and form in animation film.

Kate Jessop ‘The politics of comedy – how has adult animation used satire as a vehicle for feminist cultural commentary?’

The recent #TimesUp and #MeToo movements have brought notions of inequality and sexual harassment to the forefront of cultural discussion. Because animation is such an engaging and accessible medium it can render itself to be a valuable tool for addressing both challenging and abstract topics, often through the genre of documentary but also through satirical comedy. Contemporary adult animation series’ such as Tuca and Bertie and Bojack Horseman have been at the forefront of examining both the female perspective and societies treatment of women through use of satirical humour.

I will examine how adult animation has documented and presented these often complex female experiences. How successful or authentic can animation be in highlighting what has traditionally been feminist issues. And how is that a political act within itself?

Bio: Kate Jessop is a multi award-winning animation filmmaker whose work spans across narrative shorts, artists’ film and comedy. She represented the UK in the Best of Women in Film and TV, was a Virgin Media Shorts Finalist and a Berlinale Talents 2019 participant both as director & with her comedy series Tales From Pussy Willow in the Project Lab. She has exhibited extensively internationally, undertaking artist residencies in Berlin, Istanbul and Reykjavik. She is a Senior Lecturer in Animation & has taught in China. Her paper on Animation as Activism has been presented at Goldsmiths College & Queering Animation the first ever conference on Queer Animation.

Prof. Fran Lloyd ‘Humour and the Subversion of  Authority: The Animated Internment Drawings of Peter Sachs’

In interview for BBC 4’s ‘Animation Nation’ broadcast in April 2005, Bob Godfrey refers to the ‘enthusiasms’ of the Weimar-trained Berlin animator Peter Sachs (1912-1990) who led the Larkins Studio in London where Godfrey trained in the early 1950s alongside Keith Learner before setting up Biographic Cartoons Ltd. in 1955.

The son of a Jewish architect father and Lutheran mother, Sachs had worked with Berlin’s most highly-regarded experimental film animators: the Hungarian-born George Pal (born György Pál Marczincsak, 1908–1980) and the German artist and filmmaker Oskar W. Fischinger (1900–1967) in the early 1930s, experimenting with hand drawn cartoon animation and innovative stop-motion techniques. With the rise of Hitler, Sachs first fled to Eindhoven in Holland in 1934 where he worked on the famous animated advertisements produced by Pal’s studio for Philips Radio and Horlicks. After the invasion of Holland in May 1939, at the height of the refugee crisis, Sachs eventually secured a permit to enter Britain in June 1939 to work as a domestic servant, aged 27.

This paper focuses on Sachs’ hitherto overlooked contributions to the ‘The Onchan Pioneer’ camp magazine during his internment as a German speaking ‘enemy alien’ on the Isle of Man from 1940 to 1941.  Within the restrictive space of internment, with limited material resources, Sachs produced a series of wordless vignette drawings for the weekly magazine where he used his skills as an animator and graphic designer to induce laughter among fellow internees and to subvert the camp’s authority. The black and white drawing panels, based on the everyday activities of the internment camp – the laundry, growing crops and raising farm animals – employ an economy of line that capture the sonic aspects of the camp and simultaneously humorously undermine such commands as ‘Get Ready for the Inspection’. Unable to produce film animations in the camp, Sachs’ drawings directly reference animation devices while pointing to the absurdities of camp life and were to have a profound influence on fellow German internee Kurt Weiler who later trained with Sachs before returning to the GDR in 1956.

Bio: Fran Lloyd is Professor of Art History and Co-Director of Kingston University’s Visual and Material Culture Research Centre. She has published widely on émigré artists/collectors in Britain, including the Latvian-born sculptor Dora Gordine and the American collector Stanley Picker. Recent essays on German-speaking refugee artists and their networks include: “Making Animation Matter: Peter Sachs Comes to Britain’ (2019); “Becoming Artists: Ernst Eisenmayer, Kurt Weiler and Refugee Support Networks in wartime Oxford” (2015) and “Kurt Schwitters: Responses to Place” (2013).  She has also curated exhibitions on Kurt Schwitters at The Sayle Gallery on the Isle of Man to mark the 65th anniversary of his death and to commemorate his internment on the island (2013) and Art beyond exile: the first retrospective in the UK of Viennese-born artist Ernst Eisenmayer (2012). 

Sarah Tehan ‘Captain Phineas May – War Cartoons 1940-1946’ ‘Prints in Motion’

The Cartoon within the Second World War was a vital element in the fight for the hearts and minds of the people. It was also used by combatants to send stories home of life at the front. Phineas May, like many, spent his war years’ miles away from family in a new and distant land. The main means of communication to home was the airgraph letter. For Phineas this was an opportunity to amuse his wife Vivienne with Cartoons, depicting life in the Garrison. The Cartoons presented an often satirical examination of life within the army. Serving in the Pioneers Corps in Egypt with African Garrison Companies, several of Phineas’ cartoons depict British African Soldiers during a time of change within the Empire. The Cartoons depict cultural differences between the British Officers and their African Soldiers, as well as the Arab Locals.

This presentation, will discuss the works of Phineas May and the representation of the African Soldiers serving in the British Army. May’s work used racial stereotypes and language to promote humour. Elements of the work seen through the contemporary lens would be considered offensive. Could the work still be seen as a moment of discovery, of different cultures for combatants during that period; whose experience of other cultures would be little to non existent? May’s work taken as a whole, shows both affection for the African Soldiers and amusement in their lack of understanding of British ways. The work presents questions of British humour in the face of war, representation of the colonised and stereotyping within Cartoons.

Bio: Sarah Tehan is a visual artist and researcher based in Belfast. Tehan is a PhD Researcher at Belfast School of Art, Ulster University and an Associate Lecturer at the University for the Creative Arts, Farnham. Her research is focused on the representation of conflict and the archive. Sarah holds an MA from the University of Westminster.

David Wischer ‘Prints in Motion’

The absurdity of the world that we live in can be rejected or it can be embraced. Many aspects of popular culture and media have embraced the absurd and amplified it, creating nonsense while commenting on the current state of confusion where we all reside. My work as a printmaker and animation artist focuses on my idea of amplified absurdity. This paper will begin with the definition of absurdity and will discuss absurdism as a theme in existentialist philosophy, as well as the humorous exaggeration of absurdity. This paper will then examine how certain paradoxes or contradictions can create nonsense that is rooted in reality. The first paradox or contradiction involves the difference between being connected and disconnected. Much like images posted on social media networking sites and blogs, visual art can connect to specific groups of people, however, creating private humor may alienate or disconnect some others. The second paradox discussed is the visual merging of serious situations with humorous imagery. There is a substantial body of work in art and media that is created with parody, satire, irony, and caricature. And the third paradox is the fusion of digital reality with analog reality. The world has become more digital and less human, and the merging or fusion of these worlds is an important part of my visual work, both conceptually and through the processes I choose. I will examine notions of absurdity and nonsense in the works of related artists. Several series of my works in silkscreen printmaking and stop-motion animation will be discussed. This paper will conclude by explaining the tactical use of these paradoxes in my own visual art and the effect of amplified absurdity on the artist and the art viewer.

Bio: David Wischer was born in Henderson, Kentucky. He received his B.F.A. in Graphic Design from Northern Kentucky University and his M.F.A. in Fine Art from Purdue University. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Digital and Print Media at University of Kentucky. His work has recently been exhibited at the Center for Book Arts in New York, the Four Rivers Print Biennial at Southern Illinois University, International Print Center New York, and AIRD Gallery in Toronto, Canada.

Wischer’s work is heavily influenced by his personal observations of The Absurd. The internet, social media, and celebrity are a current source of that inspiration. David uses printmaking, animation, and drawing as a vehicle for the mixing and matching of incongruous images. Because these images are a fusion of personal and appropriated imagery, viewers may understand part of the work and be confused by others. This public and private information mirrors our own encounter with images in popular culture and mass media that we see every day. 

SteveBellGuardian6-2-20
[Keynote speaker Steve Bell ©Steve Bell/The Guardian, 06/2/2020]

Keynote 2: Steve Bell

Steve Bell is an award-winning cartoonist for the Guardian since 1981 and has also produced cartoons for Private Eye, New Statesman and many other popular publications. Graduated in Fine Art from Leeds University in 1974, he taught art before becoming a freelance cartoonist.

With Bob Godfrey he made a number of animated cartoons for TV, including a cartoon biography, Margaret Thatcher — Where Am I Now? broadcast on Channel 4. He has had thirty books published, including a cartoon autobiography of George Bush called Apes of Wrath, numerous anthologies of the If strip If Marches On and, more recently a Tony Blair self-help guide titled My Vision For a New You, published by Methuen. A collection of the past four years If strips and other cartoons, Corbyn – the Resurrection was published by Guardian Faber books in Autumn 2018.

His work has been published all over the world and he has won numerous awards, including the What the Papers Say Cartoonist of the Year in 1993, the XXI Premio Satira Politica (Grafica estera) Forte Dei Marmi, Italy 1993, the Political Cartoon Society Cartoon of the Year Award in 2001 and 2008 and Cartoonist of the Year in 2005 and 2007, the British Press Awards Cartoonist of the Year in 2002, the Cartoon Arts Trust Award eight times, the Channel 4 Political Humour Award in 2005 and the Political Studies Association Best Political Satire Award in 2005. He has also received honorary degrees from the Universities of Sussex, Teesside, Loughborough, Leeds and Brighton.

His cartoon website is Belltoons.co.uk

Dr Driss Faddouli ‘Moroccan Facebookers and the Visual Rhetoric of Political Negation’

My presentation will attempt to unravel the underlying dialectics of subversion that gives rise to a counter-hegemonic political consciousness in the Moroccan Facebookers’ visual narratives (notably comics) about Moroccan politics. It will argue that these comics construct and articulate a rhetorically counter-hegemonic discourse of political negation through generating ideographs that, in turn, animate a variety of antagonisms dismantling the state’s discourse (the public transcript). I will base my analysis on the assumption that the emergence of a political counter-hegemony basically translates an actual change in reality wherein stronger changes in political discourse are constantly sustained and fostered. First, I will initiate my presentation with a short introduction on the dynamics of contemporary Moroccan networked public sphere and the daily practices of Moroccan Facebookers in relation to several socio-cultural controversies. Second, I will contextualize my talk in light of the politics and poetics of transgression as conceptualized by major thinkers. Third, I will offer some sample visual narratives pertinent to my talk along with an elaboration of these. Finally, I will sum up my talk by delineating some concluding thoughts and opening up horizons for future research.

Bio: Dr Driss Faddouli is a professor of English at Chouaib Doukkali University, El Jadida, Morocco. He obtained his Doctorate degree in 2018 from Ibn Tofail University, Kenitra, Morocco. His fields of interest include Visual Culture, Media Studies, Cultural Studies, and Literature. He has researched and published on contemporary socio-cultural dynamics of Moroccan society. His publications include Online Maghreb Arab Social Movements and Facebook: A Case Study of Morocco, Egypt, and Tunisia, Is Mohamed Choukri’s For Bread Alone a Picaresque Narrative and Moroccan Facebook Visual Narratives and Cultural Production.

Prof. Paul Ward ‘Satire and subversion in the work of Han Hoogerbrugge’

Hoogerbrugge’s works often hinge on subversive takes on real-world events and figures using bizarre animated imagery. For example, What’s Up Doc? (2013) offers a looped animated reinterpretation of the assassination of Colonel Gaddafi, featuring Bugs Bunny. Hoogerbrugge routinely plays with loops, gifs and animated repetitions to communicate his messages.

Based around repetitions and fissures – aspects where we might not be sure exactly ‘what is going on’ – these works have an intense but enigmatic power. In order to understand this, I refer to Lamarque and Olsen’s (1994) notion of ‘topical’ and ‘perennial’ themes in literature, alongside Robbins’ (1996) concept of the ‘rheterolect’. ‘Topical’ themes are very specific to an historical and cultural context and address their audiences in a narrow and focused way; ‘perennial’ themes, on the other hand, can be understood as resonating across different historical and cultural contexts.

Satire and the subverting of cultural, political or social ‘norms’ relies on an implicit understanding of the specificity of ‘topical’ themes – in short, we need to know who or what is being satirised in order for the satire to work. This raises questions for those who view satirical works outside of the historical or cultural contexts in which they were made. This is where Robbins’ concept is useful: the idea of ‘rhetorolects’ is that there are certain recognisable ‘rhetorical dialects’ that have evolved and hybridised – they are “a distinctive configuration of themes, topics, reasonings and argumentations” (1996: 356) – and satirical and subversive visual language is a key part of this, in the ways it takes, transforms and animates ‘topical’ material.

References
Lamarque, P. and Olsen, S. H. (1994) Truth, Fiction and Literature: A Philosophical Perspective. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Robbins, V. (1996) ‘The Dialectical Nature of Early Christian Discourse’, Scriptura 59, pp. 353-362.

Bio: Paul’s main research interests are in the fields of animation and documentary film and television, animation pedagogy, production cultures, communities of practice and film and media historiography.

Published work includes articles for the journals animation: an interdisciplinary journal, Animation Journal, and the Historical Journal for Film, Radio and Television, as well as numerous anthology essays. He was also the President of the Society for Animation Studies from 2010 to 2015 and the inaugural Fellow of the Holland Animated Film Festival (HAFF) in 2012. He was a Visiting Professor in the Design School at the Politecnico di Milano in November 2013. His work has been translated into German, Czech, Korean, Farsi and Japanese.

Paul Ward is Series Co-Editor (with Caroline Ruddell) for the book series Palgrave Animation.

Dr. José L. Valhondo-Crego ‘Subverting the myths of Francoism in the Spanish satirical press’

The Spanish humorous weekly El Jueves (Thursday), which first appeared in May 1977, just a month before the first elections of the transition has endured to the present day.     The aim of this text is to analyse the way in which El Jueves dealt with the exhuming of the remains of Franco, a recent event which took place on 24th October, 2019. Although those nostalgic for the Francoism are politically residual in Spain, a great deal of myths still pervades more than 40 years after the end of the dictatorship. It is what the political experts point out as the Sociological Francoism. These myths have gathered momentum in the public sphere with the rise of the new ultra-right populist party Vox. In popular culture, the catch phrase unfolded by the supporters of this party is that “Franco también hizo cosas buenas” (“Franco also did good things”). In this respect, this kind of arguments are operating as a way to whiten a corrupt and supremacist political regime in order to gain support for an extreme-right party. Trying to counteract these myths, El Jueves published a special section devoted to subvert the most common stereotypes about Francoism, such as that Franco established the Spanish Social Security or that corruption hardly ever existed under the regime.

Bio: José L. Valhondo-Crego works as a Lecturer at the Faculty of Documentation and Communication Sciences of the University of Extremadura. He received his Communication Ph.D. in the Rey Juan Carlos University (Madrid) in 2008. He also studied a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology in the University of Salamanca and further training a Master’s in Journalism in the University of the Basque Country. His line of research is related to Political Communication, Satire and Film Studies.

Acknowledgments

This conference was organised by the Animation Research Centre at UCA with support from UCA Internal Research Funding. We would like to thank Emma Reyes, Felicity Croyden, Leigh Garrett, Lesley Adams, Bradley McGinty, Amy Owen, Emma Cook, Lisa Chadwick, Tom Lowe, Claire Godfrey, Lorna McColl, Kris Bercsenyi and all the students who helped.

Animation Research Centre, UCA

Founded in 1998, the Animation Research Centre at the University for the Creative Arts, Farnham is a centre for innovation, doctoral study, debate and dialogue, interdisciplinary and practice-based research into animation in all its most expanded forms. Our current work ranges from archival research, conference organisation, exhibition curation and academic publication to investigations in immersive technology, block chain and movement capture.

For more information, contact <animationresearch@uca.ac.uk>

Free tickets available up until the last minute. Book here: http://satireandsubversion.eventbrite.co.uk

Animated GIF          Print

Call for papers: Ecstatic Truth V

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We are extremely happy to confirm our first guest speakers for this year’s Ecstatic Truth: Dr. Lilly Husbands, animation lecturer and researcher, and Marcin Gizycki, art historian, critic and filmmaker.

Ecstatic Truth is the annual symposium dedicated to the intersections of animation and documentary in its multiple formats. The Call for Papers is open until Friday the 16th of February – please read below for more info. The next one will take place in Vienna, 27-28 April, in conjunction with Under_the_Radar 2020.

This year we invite speakers to respond to the age of the absurd we seem to be living in:
How can we respond to the absurdity of a world being run to continuously make profit regardless of its sustainability? How can we use animation and filmmaking for activism? How can we creatively challenge the current assault on reliable information? What is the role of humour, surrealism, the historic strategies of the Absurd and Central European Existentialism, to respond to these contemporary issues?

We welcome proposals for 20-minute presentations, speculations, poetic reflections, rigorous questioning, even fierce creative opposition, from both academic and practitioner-led perspectives. Selected papers will be published in a specially themed issue of the International Journal of Film and Media Arts.

The proposal should include an abstract of not more than 500 words and a short biography of no more than 200 words.

Please send it to: ecstatic.truth.symposium@gmail.com
Call for papers deadline: 16th February 2020

For more information about the call for papers go to: https://ecstatictruth5.eventbrite.co.uk

[Image: George Grosz, ‘The Voice of the People is the Voice of God from The Face of the Ruling Class’ (1920)]

Cartoon Animation: Satire and Subversion – 17th Feb 2020

'Great' by Bob Godfrey 1975 - 2019. Image © Thomas Lowe & Claire Godfrey
[Still from Great by Bob Godfrey courtesy of the Bob Godfrey Collection, UCA Archives]

What makes us laugh at cartoons? What is it that makes something funny? Cartoon Animation: Satire and Subversion is a one-day conference on 17th Feb at UCA Farnham, Surrey, UK, inspired by the legacy of legendary British animator Bob Godfrey to explore the politics of comedy. The Keynote speakers are Steve Bell, Guardian cartoonist and Dr. Sharon Lockyer, Director of the Comedy Research Centre at Brunel University. The conference will be accompanied by the opening of Bob Godfrey, a Collaborative Act, an exhibition of rarely seen items from Bob Godfrey’s archive.

Click here for more information and to book a free place: https://www.uca.ac.uk/events/cartoon-animation-symposium.