CFP: Experimental and Expanded Animation

Call for papers: Experimental & Expanded Animation: Current Perspectives & New Directions

Proposals are invited for an interdisciplinary one-day conference with an evening reception, screening and exhibition.

At the University for the Creative Arts, Farnham, Surrey, UK.

Conference date: February 13th, 2019.

E&EAniCover

THEME

With their recent volume: Experimental and Expanded Animation: Current Perspectives & New Directions, Hamlyn and Smith aimed to reach further into understandings of what experimental animation is, and has been,  since Robert Russett and Cecile Starr defined it in 1976. This conference aims to further focus our project and to develop findings from the publication through more immediate methods of open dialogue and/or film practice. The prompts listed below have been condensed from themes emerging in the volume. However we welcome proposals that respond to these areas and also those that pursue other lines of enquiry. A range of disciplinary approaches is encouraged and the conference aims to include papers from practitioners, practitioner/scholars and scholars. As well as traditional 20 min papers we encourage alternative methods for sharing ideas and materials through, for example, performed presentations, artistic works, mini-workshops and lightning talks.

PROMPTS

Craft/ materiality

Transparency of process and use of materials has been central to experimental/ materialist film practice and theory. To what extent has the homogenization of media today prompted a rise in more recent craft theory? How do Marxist materialist theories relate to post-human and new materialist discourse and in which ways do these more recent methodologies impact upon our understandings of experimental expanded animation?

Feminism/women in experimental animation

It’s understood that the privacy of animation production conditions facilitates exploration into issues relating to feminism.  Female animators today are translating concerns, such as the domestic, sexuality and the body, into large scale, expanded and performed animation.  Does such work, installed in spaces beyond the gallery/cinema, and in which the female animator is visible on stage, impact upon expression of the female experience, or has this become less crucial to articulate, and how does feminist theory offer insights into this area?

Industry/ independent

Critically reworked commercial animation is occurring today within the purview of experimental film. Outwardly appearing as traditional cartoons, how does this material sit within a field that has tended to emphasise the auteur and has avoided the graphic, the narrative and the popular? 

Inter-disciplinary

Increasingly we see interdisciplinary approaches employed to analyse animation, including for example post-humanist scholarship; aesthetics; phenomenology; feminism and critical theory. To what extent do these methods cast light on animated texts, or do they detract from fundamental questions concerning form and the medium?

Medium/ context

Media including photography, dance, and performance for example have been central to animation since vaudeville, and then through the expanded cinema of the 60s.  How is experimental animation advanced through media ‘impurity’, and to what extent are theories such as inter-mediality, which suggests that individual qualities of distinct media are enhanced through their interlocking, of value?

Perception/reception

Animation that is articulated beyond the single screen could be said to emphasise a perceptual and phenomenological engagement. Flicker for example, is located in the physiology of the viewer, while animated installation demands a mobile spectator.  Both modes of spectatorship are contingent and situated in the present of their apprehension. How is animation in the expanded field continuing to elicit new modes of spectatorship? 

Representation/ technologies 

3D-CG and internet animation has the capacity to invent and manipulate the extant world in myriad ways.  How is CG being used in the context of experimental expanded animated film?

Utopia/ ecology

Gene Youngblood hailed expanded cinema as reflecting a utopian expansion of both consciousness and technology.  Today much experimental expanded animation, made through contracted means of found or old materials, can be regarded as a response to resources made scarce through either forced obsolescence, unsustainable practice and/or as a creative resistance to media acceleration. How does the trend toward a careful ecology of materials impact on experimental animation languages?

SUBMISSION

Please submit an abstract (up to 500 words), 3–5 bibliographical sources, 3-5 keywords as well as a short bio by 15th of November 2018 to:

vsmith9@ucreative.ac.uk

with the subject heading: ‘Experimental Animation Conference’. The selected abstracts for the conference will be announced by late November 2018.

 

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Heart of Glass

At the recent Society for Animation Studies conference at RMIT in Melbourne, I was fascinated to discover the glass-mation work of Mark Eliott and Jack McGrath. In their presentation they described how a glass artist met an animator and their own distinctive brand of stop-motion was born. Created in collaboration with Vanessa White, Dr Mermaid and the Abovemarine was created frame-by-frame  in painstaking detail with molten glass and then digitally composited. It tells a tale of a marine biologist who can talk to fish.

'Dr Mermaid and the Abovemarine' from Jack McGrath on Vimeo.

Here are some beautiful Experiments in Living Glass made by Eliott and McGrath.

Glass animation: Experiments in living glass #1 from Jack McGrath on Vimeo.

With the rich, tactile surfaces that they create, the work goes beyond the audiovisual and invites the viewer to want to reach out and touch it. For them, this materiality is evident in the work of Agnieszka Woznicka, whose film Birdy (2008) engages with a delight in surface texture. Part of the pleasure of watching her film lies in the details of the feathers, bark and moss – all beautifully presented.

Birdy from Agnieszka Woznicka on Vimeo.

Eliot and McGrath were also inspired by Karel Zeman’s 1948 film, Inspirace. This short film about a glass artist’s daydream starts inside a drop of water and features dancing ice skaters and penguins made of glass.

Another source of inspiration was the Pes film, Western Spaghetti (2008), in which familiar objects are used in unconventional contexts that changes their everyday meaning.

Nathalie Djurberg’s World of Glass was the first time that I had seen an installation that combined stop motion and glass. A new exhibition in Australia has just finished, which featured the work of a total of seven Australian artists combining glass and animation. From the 6th June to the 14th July, Deakin University Art Gallery in Melbourne held a Glassimations exhibition featuring the work of Eliot and McGrath as well as Tom Moore, Deirdre Feeney, Lee Whitemore, Lienors Torre and Alistair Boell who have all created a combination of animation and installations made of glass.

The catalogue (ISBN 978-0-9806214-9-5) features essays about glass as material and glass as philosophical metaphor. Here is a blog featuring some more glass animation work from some of the artists included.

Nathalie Djurberg: A World of Glass

Swedish sculptor Nathalie Djurberg’s installation A World of Glass is on at the Camden Arts Centre until 8th January 2012. In this installation her disturbing stop motion animations play at either end of a room filled with glass: the translucency of this material echoing the translucency of projected light and yet contrasting with the fleshy, sinister quality of her claymations.

Nathalie Djurberg with music by Hans Berg A World of Glass from Camden Arts Centre on Vimeo.

Here is an interview with Nathalie and her composer Hans Berg about the work.