Boundary Crossings: Performing Identity

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Boundary Crossings is a biennial institute for contemporary animated arts that was established in 2009 by artist, Rose Bond, at the Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, Oregon, USA. The two-week studio programme includes a hands-on exploration of experimental animation as spatial experience, interdisciplinary moving image practice, kinetic sculpture and expanded cinema. This is complimented by readings of related critical theory, a programme of artists talks and screenings and culminates in an exhibition. Participants include working professionals as well as graduate and upper-level undergraduate students with an interest in time-based arts and a desire for an immersive studio experience on the cutting edge of animation and fine art.

Professor and Department Chair of Animated Arts at PNCA, Rose Bond‘s personal practice builds on her experience of frame-by-frame direct animation to create spectacular, site-specific, architectural animation projections in public spaces. Each Boundary Crossings is also co-curated and co-taught by a different international practitioner, who defines the theme and conceptual direction. This year’s theme, Performing Identity was chosen by visiting artist, Birgitta Hosea (myself), Head of Animation at the Royal College of Art in London. In addition, it was supported by guest artist, Carl Diehl, with Studio Manager, Maxwell Brown, and assisted by Sarah Hickey.

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The work produced during Boundary Crossings goes beyond the short film format in investigating in what ways the concepts behind the films can expand out of the screen and be presented to others in an exhibition context. All of these works were conceived of and produced in their entirety over a period of two weeks. Each artist has considered the context of the way in which their animation is displayed to create a unique experience in sound, image and space.

Exhibition:

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PNCA, Portland, Oregon, USA. Photo: Birgitta Hosea, 2017

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Entrance Hall. Photo: Birgitta Hosea, 2017

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Overview. Photo: Ali Gradisher, 2017

IMG_0405Overview. Photo: Birgitta Hosea, 2017

Individual Works

Ran Sheng: From My Family Album
Double projection on sculpture. Soundtrack: appropriated Chinese pop music.

“A mixed-media memoir generated by childhood memories through the lens of current circumstances. Using the family photo as a carrier, I explore how childhood experiences have affected the development of my personality – who made me what I am?”

IMG_0413Photo: Birgitta Hosea, 2017.

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Nicole Baker: The Width of a Circle
Black card, sequential prints on acetate, motor, stroboscope. Silent.

“A magic machine made of light and myth, this kinetic sculpture emits visions of a creation tale eminating from primordial history. Contemporary visual storytelling technologies contrast with early animation mechanics to highlight how the power of myth perforates the human mind.”

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Terese Cuff: Complains and Concerns
Extended animation split between two projectors on papier mȃché relief. Soundtrack: recreated voice recordings inspired by complaints made by children in the classroom.

“Exploring the disconnect between conflicted internal and external voices, from the petty to the disturbing.”

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Photo: Birgitta Hosea, 2017.

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Jacob Houseman: A Very, Very Exclusive Performance
Live performance with interactive database of animation. Silent.

“All the fair ladies and gentlemen of polite society have tonight in their planners for this very, very exclusive performance, which is a very, very anticipated one. If you mean to secure your place among the rich and famous, you absolutely must view the very, very exclusive performance.”

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Photo: Birgitta Hosea, 2017

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Sol Fantasma: Shapeshifter
Rear projection of metamorphosing animals on tissue paper. Silent.

“You aren’t the same person twice. Who you’re with influences how you act. Who are you really?”

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Briar Parks: The Eyes of Izangi
Interactive animation with sculptural objects as controllers. Silent.

“This interactive installation is inspired by animal mimicry, exploring how imitation blurs the line between Self and Other.”

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Amy Love: Shalom
Cut out animation on TV monitor with associated objects. Soundtrack: unaccompanied personal recording of traditional song

“The Artist shares her lived experience of trauma and recovery.”

IMG_0417Photo: Birgitta Hosea, 2017

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Ari Gabriel: Summer of the Yellow-Dry End
Stop motion video, associated objects, cabinet. Soundtrack: Spoken word poetry.

“Memories were left as dreams and fled into folklore, leaving something like an afterimage on the other side of an eyelid. The dry trees calling fire, the smell of hot stone, the dust stirred by crows, dreams of a gleam of a knife or scissors on a distant hill. In the hush of the summer night, the changeling was born of the Grain Mother.”

IMG_0419Photo: Birgitta Hosea, 2017

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Mike Nixon: Ocean – Sea of Faith
Animations on three monitors. Soundtrack: various foley recordings of water and rowing,

“Water can give or take away, as it is in life or death. The cycles of nature, day and night, season to season. The swimmer moves through water, clearing space and releasing it as they progress. There is the possibility of transformation through the most traumatic of experiences by the rhythms of life. We are water and water is us.”

IMG_0407Photo: Birgitta Hosea, 2017

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T.J. Orlowski: KINET-X
Pre-recorded and user-generated animation. Silent.

“This work explores the kinetic signature of an individual person’s specific motion through active participation.”

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The Process

At this year’s Boundary Crossings we started with the idea of how to convey subjective experience. Can animation can be used to express private, inner worlds? Can our personal identities be expressed without using verbal language? And if so, what makes an audience interested in another’s personal experience? The very notion of how personal identity is constituted and expressed was examined through Judith Butler’s idea that our identities are so fragile that they need to be constantly reaffirmed through repetitive personal rituals that confirm who we are. For example, in order to be a man, you make sure that you walk like a man. Animation is the perfect art to look at the personal and the subjective, because it is not limited to what can be photographed and can express thoughts direct from the imagination. Through animation, gesture and ritual can be analysed and reflected upon. This was further developed by discussions around glitch feminism – that gender may in itself be a faulty machine.

The workshops included Isadora and physical computing by Carl Diehl, animated installation: expressing ideas through spatial context by Rose Bond and myself, projection techniques by Rose Bond and practice-based research and development of concepts by myself. I also gave a talk on my own practice that had been informed by extensive research into Victorian spirit mediums and screened a programme of experimental animations from the Royal College of Art. Participants were encouraged to be mutually supportive through peer review and connected reading sessions. To develop the theme of performing identity as well as to serve as a warm-up and possible starting point, I conducted a drawing workshop inspired by performance theory in which the choreographic principles of Rudolph Laban were used to build a vocabulary of emotional mark making and Method acting techniques were used to engage with affective and muscle memories.

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Photos: Birgitta Hosea, 2017

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Boundary Crossings: Performing Identity

Expanded Animation in Linz

Expanded Animation V:

Daydreams and Nightmares: Amalgams of Technology and Aesthetics in Animation

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A fascinating symposium on September 8th – 9th 2017 that looks at hybrid technologies and collapsing boundaries in digital animation will take place at the Central Linz in Austria as part of the Ars Electronica Festival.

Organised by Hagenberg Campus of the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria, the Ars Electronica Festival and Central Linz.

For more details about the event and the speakers: http://www.expandedanimation.com.

 

 

Expanded Animation in Linz

Patrick Tresset’s ‘Machine Studies’

I recently had a fascinating evening with Maryclare Foa getting our portraits drawn by Patrick Tresset‘s robots at Platform Southwark, part of the Merge Festival.

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A camera looks at you then down at the drawing.

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The programming is based on Patrick Tresset’s own left-handed drawing style. Interesting to see the variations. The angle of the pen makes a difference, so do light levels. The lines are gestural because of being drawn by robot arms. The signatures are taken from a random, unintended mark that one of his robots once made.

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Me and Maryclare Foa drawn by the same robot. We both look very suspicious!

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Maryclare Foa confronts the robot and draws it back!

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In the installation upstairs, Human Study #4, there is a classroom of performing robots. A camera at the front desk seems to communicate to the robot arms at the desks in morse code.

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The robot arms mark time along with the instructions on the video blackboard.

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Finally, all but two start scribbling over their previous marks. The sound of the servo motors and the bleeps of morse code sound incredible. The whole set up brought back uncanny memories of my primary school.

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Patrick Tresset’s ‘Machine Studies’

Ecstatic Truth II: the schedule

Ecstatic Truth II – Lessons of Darkness and Light, 27th May, 2017, Royal College of Art

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9.30 – 10.00    Arrival

10 -10.15         Intro/Welcome by Professor Teal Triggs, Associate Dean of the School of Communication; Dr Birgitta Hosea, Head of Animation; Dr Tereza Stehlíková, Visiting Tutor,

10.15 – 10.45   Keynote: Bella Honess Roe

Dr Bella Honess Roe is a film scholar who specialises in documentary and animation. Her 2013 monograph Animated Documentary is the first text to investigate the convergence of these two media forms and was the recipient of the Society for Animation Studies’ 2015 McLaren-Lambart award for best book. She also publishes on animation and documentary more broadly and is currently editing a book on Aardman Animations (I.B. Tauris), co-editing a volume on the voice in documentary (Bloomsbury) and co-editing the Animation Studies Handbook (Bloomsbury). She is Senior Lecturer and Programme Director for Film Studies at the University of Surrey.

For more info on her work: https://bellahonessroe.wordpress.com

10.45 – 11.45 Traversing the terrain of space, time and form

  • Rose Bond “Broadsided”

Must documentary be confined to a single screen?  How does the siting of a screening influence its perception?  This screening/talk focuses on documentary strategies in Rose Bond’s multi-screen animated installation Broadsided! which was sited in the windows of the Exeter Castle.  A screened excerpt from Broadsided! documentation provides the basis for brief examination of documentary methods used to convey a point of view: research, reenactment, data visualization and parataxis.

Broadsided! (Exeter, UK) from Rose Bond on Vimeo.

Rose Bond creates monumental, content driven animated installations. Rear projected in multiple windows, her themes are often drawn from the site – existing as monuments to the unremembered. Her installations have illuminated urban spaces in Zagreb, Toronto, Exeter UK, New York City, Utrecht, Netherlands and Portland, Oregon.

To see more of her latest work: http://www.opb.org/television/programs/artbeat/segment/portland-oregon-animator-rose-bond/

  • Carla MacKinnon “Immersion and alienation: animated virtual realities”

This presentation will explore how animated documentaries are pioneering creativity in virtual reality (VR). I will propose that animated documentary is a good fit for VR technically and creatively, and that the distancing quality and ‘absence and excess’ (Honess Roe, 2013) of animated documentary complements the duel sensation of immersion and alienation evoked in the dreamlike experience of VR.

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Carla MacKinnon is a filmmaker and practice-based PhD candidate at Arts University Bournemouth, whose moving image work has been exhibited widely. Carla has a Masters in Animation from Royal College of Art and has worked as a festival producer and manager of technology projects. She is also director of interdisciplinary events organization Rich Pickings.

11.45 – 12.00  BREAK

12.00 – 1.00    Deeper strata

  • Vincenzo Maselli: “Deeper strata of meanings in stop-motion animation: the meta-diegetic performance of matter”

Can puppets’ skin materials express deeper levels of signification in stop-motion animation cinema? The paper suggests the concept of autonomous performance of matter in stop-motion animation and aim to demonstrate that matter can express a sense of tactility and metaphorically act autonomously from the diegetic narrative, staging a second level of narrative (meta-diegetic).

Vincenzo Maselli is a PhD student in design at Sapienza University of Rome. His research aims to demonstrate how materials and puppets’ building techniques can communicate narrative meanings in stop motion animation cinema. In October 2016 he moved in London, where he is continuing his research at Middlesex University.

  • Sally Pearce “Can I draw my own memory?” A visual essay

I try to use my pencil as a scalpel to extract a memory whole, but the memory will not be drawn out like a lump of tissue, instead it changes as soon as the pencil touches it. As my memory changes under the pencil, I am changed, I redraw myself.

Sally Pearce studied philosophy at Cambridge, then became a nurse. She started making films while studying Fine Art at Sheffield Hallam, followed by an MA in Animation Direction at the NFTS. Her films have screened and been awarded at Festivals around the world. She hopes to start her PhD in October 2017.

  • Barnaby Dicker “A Quivering Terminus: Walerian Borowczyk’s Games of Angels, animated documentary and the social fantastic.”

This paper explores how Borowczyk’s Games of Angels (1964) utilises a fantastic topography to play with tropes of documentary and fiction in an effort to engage with painful social history in a direct, but far from literal way; its design and structure conveying, through a disturbing momentum, the experience of a quivering terminus.

Dr Barnaby Dicker teaches at Cardiff School of Art and Design. His research revolves around conceptual and material innovations in and through graphic technologies and arts.

1.00 – 1.30       Panel discussion chaired by Birgitta Hosea

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1.30 – 2.30      LUNCH

2.30 – 3.00      Keynote: Lei Lei

In his experimental animated works, Lei Lei always pays particular attention to collecting and collating historical texts and images and trying to search for elements of the poetic and dramatic between reality and fiction. In Hand colored No.2, through the use of manual painting, Lei Lei and Thomas Sauvin try to connect black and white images of different people, attempting to construct a fictional character, narrating his personal history.

LeiLei 雷磊, Artist / Filmmaker. Born in Nanchang, Jiangxi Province, 1985 and is an experimental animation artist with his hands on video arts, painting, installation, music and VJ performance also. In 2009 he got a master’s degree in animation from Tsinghua University. In 2010, his film This is LOVE was shown at Ottawa International Animation Festival and awarded the 2010 Best Narrative Short. In 2013 his film Recycled was selected by Annecy festival and was the Winner Grand Prix shorts – non-narrative at Holland International Animation Film Festival. In 2014 he was on the Jury of Zagreb / Holland International Animation Film Festival and he was the winner of 2014 Asian cultural council grant.

3.00 – 4.00      Animation: Lessons of Darkness and Light

Guli Silberstein: ‘The Schizophrenic State Project’

The Schizophrenic State Project, which started in 2000, contains a series of videos that appropriate mass media footage of violence, war, and protest, in the context of Israel, Palestine and the region. The images are processed via digital means in diverse ways, creating poetic works that formulate news media critique.

Guli Silberstein is an artist and video editor, based in London UK since 2010, born in Israel (1969). In 2000 he received his MA in Media Studies from The New School NYC, and since 2001, he creates work shown and winning awards in festivals and art venues in the UK and worldwide.

Becky James: “Expanding the Index in Animated Documentary”

Documentary animation examining mental state is a robust subgenre; often these works try to recreate an unusual psychological state to promote empathy and understanding. Using patient records and contemporaneous film strips, Betina Kuntzsch’s 2016 animation Spirit Away avoids speaking for, explaining, or diagnosing the female patients at the Heidelberg Psychiatric Clinic. Kuntzsch does not use the index to provide truth claim or to promote understanding, but instead the index acts as metaphor and distancing mechanism in this work about isolation.

Becky James explores the intersection of the individual and social through animation. She has exhibited in galleries throughout the US and at film festivals including SXSW, Jihlava Documentary Festival, Filmfest Oldenburg, and IFF Rotterdam. A native New Yorker, James graduated from Harvard and received her MFA from Bard. She currently teaches at Parsons School of Design.

Susan Young: “Bearing Witness: Autoethnographic Animation and the Metabolism of Trauma”

This presentation and short film screening examines my use of autoethnographic animation methodologies (which include myself as an experimental case study), in order to excavate and bear witness to the memories and lived experience of psychological trauma, and to challenge their related, often stigmatising and ‘othering’, psychiatric diagnoses.

Susan Young is an animation director who has worked principally in advertising, commissioned films and music promos. Her current RCA PhD research is based on personal experience of psychological trauma, and includes a series of short experimental films that explore how animation might ameliorate trauma symptoms.

4.00 – 4.15      BREAK

4.15- 5.00pm   Screening: Films

Lei Lei, “Recycled” (6 min)

Sheila Sofian, “Truth has Fallen” (15 min excerpt)

Peter Bo Ruppmund, “Tectonics” (20 min excerpt)

TECTONICS preview from Peter Bo Rappmund on Vimeo.

5.00-5.30         Concluding panel discussion, chaired by Barnaby Dicker

5.30                 Reception

For more information about studying MA Animation: Documentary at RCA: http://www.rca.ac.uk/schools/school-of-communication/animation/documentary-animation-pathway.

Video documentation of this event will be archived on our Vimeo channel at:

https://vimeo.com/channels/documentaryanimation.

This event is supported by the Society for Animation Studies, an international organisation dedicated to the study of animation history and theory since 1987. For more information and to become a member:

https://www.animationstudies.org.

 

Ecstatic Truth II: the schedule

Ecstatic Truth II: Lessons of Darkness and Light

“Fact creates norms, and truth illumination” Werner Herzog 

Date: Saturday 27th May, 2017
Location: Stevens building, Royal College of Art, Kensington Gore

This second animated documentary symposium at the RCA will to continue with the examination of how animation can contribute to, challenge and push the boundaries of what documentary film can be.

Our keynote speakers are Annabelle Honess Roe, author of ‘Animated Documentary’ and filmmaker Lei Lei.

For more information and to book a FREE ticket: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/ecstatic-truth-lessons-of-darkness-and-light-animated-documentary-symposium-tickets-33257461964

Ecstatic Truth II: Lessons of Darkness and Light

Call for Papers: The Crafty Animator

The Crafty Animator: A Conference on Handmade and Craft-based Animation

Proposals are invited for an interdisciplinary one-day conference at Rich Mix Cinema, Shoreditch, London, on Thursday 7th September 2017

Animation is famously diverse, incorporating as it does a range of production methods, techniques and practices. This one-day conference focuses on any technique that could be considered to be handmade or craft-based, from cut outs to models and puppets, from sand-on-glass to ink-on-glass, and beyond. The role of the animator is key to such techniques where we can often see her/his imprints or finger marks etc. or even hands in the animation; the ‘presence of the artist’ is often highly visible in such craft-based practices and is a presence this conference seeks to explore from numerous perspectives. The conference aims to consider: the kinds of animation techniques that might fall into the category of the handmade; the ways that handmade and craft-based animation might be framed as gendered practices, or not; the kinds of cultural value that handmade and craft-based might animation carry. A range of disciplinary approaches is encouraged and the conference aims to include papers from practitioners, practitioner/scholars and scholars.

I am delighted to confirm Dr Birgitta Hosea, Head of Animation at the RCA, as our Keynote Speaker.

Possible approaches include but are not limited to:

  • Historical examples of handmade animation`
  • Contemporary practices
  • Gender politics and production practices
  • Audience engagement
  • Spectacle and visual effects
  • Space and place
  • Production cultures
  • Narrative and storytelling
  • Children’s television animation
  • Digitising the handmade
  • The cultural value of craft-based/handmade animation
  • Craft-based practices and the community
  • The ‘presence of the artist’
  • Craft-based/handmade animation and advertising

The conference will be held at the Rich Mix Cinema in Shoreditch, London on Thursday 7 September 2017. Please send abstracts of 300 words plus 100-word bio by Friday 23 June 2017 to:

Dr Caroline Ruddell (caroline.ruddell@brunel.ac.uk)

Dr Caroline Ruddell
Lecturer in Film and TV Studies
Department of Social Sciences, Media and Communications
College of Business, Arts and Social Sciences
Brunel University London

Associate Editor Animation: An Interdisciplinary Journal
animation: an Interdisciplinary journal is the first cohesive international refereed publishing platform for animation that unites contributions from a wide range of research agendas and creative practice.
http://anm.sagepub.com

Call for Papers: The Crafty Animator

Call for Papers: Ecstatic Truth II

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Ecstatic Truth II: Lessons of Darkness and Light

“Fact creates norms, and truth illumination” Werner Herzog 

Date: Saturday 27th May, 2017
Location: Stevens building, Royal College of Art, Kensington Gore

The second animated documentary symposium at the RCA is back!

We want to continue with the examination of how animation can contribute to, challenge and push the boundaries of what documentary film can be. We will consider animation in the most expanded sense and are interested in proposals that may challenge and redefine the boundary of animation itself. We can also confirm that Annabelle Honess Roe, author of ‘Animated Documentary’, will be one of our keynote speakers.

In the last symposium, one of the themes that emerged was one of archaeology and excavation. According to Herzog: “There are deeper strata of truth in cinema, and there is such a thing as poetic, ecstatic truth. It is mysterious and elusive, and can be reached only through fabrication and imagination and stylization.”

We invite speakers to present projects that roam the landscape (whether real or imagined), dig through the sediments of reality, explore vertical time of poetry, examine hidden histories, project visions of future, or trace new connections between concepts, use fabrication and imagination to touch upon vital issues: whether these are social, political, philosophical, or personal.

At a time of polarised political views and a deep sense of division, it seems to be a relevant moment to question the concept of darkness and light, aesthetically, politically, ethically, imaginatively. How can our work be of relevance, help us understand where we have been, where we are, and where we might go? How can the notion of ecstatic truth cast light on the shadowy concept of post-truth and what contribution can animated documentary bring to this debate? How can animation documentary, in its most expanded form, illuminate us?

We are opening this call for paper to PhD students, researchers (within animation but also beyond), filmmakers and other practitioners, who use animation as part of their methodology, their way of trying to understand the world.

Proposals should be for either:

  • a 20 minute conference paper;
  • an alternative discussion/presentation format as appropriate for practice-based research (this can include practice based work in a form of short films, images etc.)

 

Proposed themes:

Deeper Strata

Vertical time and poetic image, landscape and memory, shared or personal history, embodiment

Visions of Future

Imagination and fabrication, science-fiction, art & science dialogue, role of technology

Lessons of Darkness and Light

Human condition, social issues, society, social commentary, religious or spiritual, re-contextualizing documentary footage, post-truth/ecstatic truth/animated form

 

To submit your proposal or any related questions please contact dr Tereza Stehlikova:

tereza.stehlikova@network.rca.ac.uk

The deadline for submissions is 7th April 2017

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1326409527421972/

Call for Papers: Ecstatic Truth II