Live Animation: animating in the moment

At the moment I am writing a paper on ‘Live Animation: animating in the moment‘ for the CAKE Conference and Festival next week and thinking about the links between performance drawing and animation, because the Dialogues of Performance III: Draw to Perform seminar is still fresh in my mind.

While many animators might consider ‘animating in the moment’ to be part of the debate between the pros and cons of ‘straight ahead’ vs. ‘pose-to-pose’ animation (to non-animators this translates as spontaneous unplanned sequences of animated drawings vs. keyframed sequences in which extreme poses are planned first and then the animation between these are created), my interest is in creating animation immediately so that it can be played back straight away.

Many filmmakers and animators inspired by expanded cinema have combined the live gestures of their own bodies in the act of mark making with analogue technology to create spontaneous projected moving images. I am always inspired by the following artists:

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Still from Paul Sharits ‘S:STREAM:S:S:SECTION:S:S:ECTION:S:S:ECTIONED (1971)

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Rolling over ‘Blinkity Blank’ (2014) Pierre Hébert

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The performance process of making:36 Frames Per Feet (2013) Vicky Smith.

In my own work, I combine these ideas about spontaneous mark making and being in the moment with digital technology. In 2010, I completed a series of projects that involved the animation of white light. The first two projects were created with a Tagtool, an open source visual instrument that allows you to create drawings with a graphics tablet and simultaneously manipulate them with a joystick. Instructions for making them are on the Tagtool site. I did the programming and my Dad put together the electronics and controllers for me.

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Improvised collaborative performance (2010) Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance

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ARC: I Draw for You (2010) Performance Drawing Collective (Maryclare Foa, Jane Grisewood, Birgtta Hosea, Carali McCall), Centre for Drawing, Wimbledon College of Art

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In my next project, I started to experiment with the idea of animating myself into existence with the use of white light. Painting myself black, I drew white lines on myself while revolving in a circle. After I had digitally manipulated the original images, it looked as if a giant head was slowly forming out of white lines.

Projecting this film holographically with Musion Eyeliner technology, I was able to create the illusion that a giant head was forming out of white lines on the stage in three dimensions. At performances in Shunt and Kinetica, I performed within the holographic projection of my own head. Painted black to look invisible on stage, I drew white lines on myself again in a repetition of the marks created to make the film. It was very hard to photograph – the pictures below give a rough impression.

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Live Animation: animating in the moment

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