Ecstatic Truth – Call for Papers

Ecstatic Truth: Defining the essence of an animated documentary 

Kentridge
[William Kentridge]

 

APGR* research symposium at the Royal College of Art
Date: Saturday 14th May, 2016
Location: Stevens building, Royal College of Art, Kensington Gore

According to Werner Herzog mere facts constitute an accountant’s reality, but it is the ecstatic truth (a poetic reality) that can capture more faithfully the nuances and depths of human experiences. Given that animation has the freedom to represent, stylize, or reimagine the world, it lends itself well to this aspirational form of a documentary.

To celebrate the launch of our new Animated Documentary pathwayRoyal College of Art Animation warmly invites PhD research students to submit proposals for Ecstatic Truth: the 6th Animation PGR research symposium. We invite speakers to respond to the idea of “Ecstatic Truth” and reflect, speculate and imagine how animated form might elicitate the different facets of this poetic truth, through its unique language.

Proposals should be for either:

–       a 20 minute conference paper;

–       or 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.)

Some of the proposed themes:

Showing the Invisible
Inner states, subjective states, forbidden places, ethical issues etc.

Transcending Time
Memory, future, sci-fi, history etc.

Truth, Falsification and Poetry
Virtual reality, fictional elements, special effects, imagination, poetic truth etc.

Art and Science dialogue
Science visualization, role of poetry in science imagery etc.

Human condition
social issues, society, social commentary, health and illness, conflict etc. 

(We equally welcome fierce and creative opposition to Herzog’s statement…!)

Please note that the symposium is designed for MPhil / PhD students to present their work-in-progress to a friendly and well-informed audience of peers and supervisors.

The deadline for submissions is 14th April 2016.

To submit your proposal or any related questions please contact Dr Tereza Stehlikova: tereza.stehlikova@network.rca.ac.uk 

*The Animation Postgraduate Research Group was set up in 2011 by Dr Paul Ward of the Arts University College at Bournemouth as a safe and supportive network in which MPhil/PhD students in animation can network, exchange ideas and disseminate their research.

 

Animated Documentaries from the Royal College of Art

 

For inspiration, here are a number of different approaches to animated documentary created by students on MA Animation at the RCA:

Nightclub from Jonathan Hodgson on Vimeo.

Yellow Fever from Ng’endo Mukii on Vimeo

Devil In The Room from Mackinnonworks on Vimeo.

Procrastination from Johnny Kelly on Vimeo.

Die Andere Seite from Ellie Land on Vimeo.

Ecstatic Truth – Call for Papers

Re-animating the Archive

Discovering Collections, Discovering Communities conference, Manchester, 12-14 October 2015

Watch the conference paper on You Tube:

More information about the presentation:

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At this year’s National Archives and Research Libraries UK conference, Alison Green and Birgitta Hosea will be presenting a collaborative project between four organisations: MA Culture, Criticism and Curation and MA Character Animation at Central Saint Martins, the Guildhall School of Music and the Old Operating Theatre Museum.

With a conference theme of exploring new digital destinations for the heritage sector, Discovering Collections, Discovering Communities, will examine methods for meaningful and innovative digital engagement with museums and archives. Reflecting on the CUT! exhibition created for the Old Operating Theatre Museum, Green and Hosea will demonstrate a case study of the use of animation in museums and archives.

Abstract:

How can digital media augment old spaces and things? Using the exhibition, CUT! (Old Operating Theatre Museum, London, 2014) as a case-study, we will present a project that juxtaposed original, auratic objects with reinterpretations in the form of short digital animations. CUT! was a collaboration between the Museum and students from two courses at Central Saint Martins, MA Character Animation and MA Culture, Criticism and Curation.

The aim of the exhibition was to bring back a sense of the people who had once worked or been treated in a space now filled with glass cases and curious objects. Animations inspired by the museum’s quirky range of artefacts from medical history were created by students from MA Character Animation. The forty films were curated by students from MA Culture, Criticism and Curation, placed as interventions into the museum’s permanent collection, like a haunting or re-animation of the historic objects.

The exhibition, conceived as an experiment and which proved popular with visitors, raised issues about how audiences relate differently to ‘history’ versus ‘the present’ and how different people engage with different types of objects and technology. The paper will theorise these results through discussions of animation and haunting (Cholodenko, 2007 & 2011) and memory as speech versus memory as object (Derrida, 1996). Both presenters have led several collaborative projects with students working with museums. We are interested in exploring what such projects mean for our respective fields—digital animation and curating—and, further, reflecting upon these partnerships as forms of pedagogy.

Link to presentation slides:

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Video

Off the Rails: Animating Train Journeys

Animated Landscapes: History, Form and Function, a new anthology edited by Chris Pallant is now available from Bloomsbury Academic.

Chris Pallant will Chair a panel at Fantasy / Animation: A Conference on Media, Medium and Genre at Kings College London on Friday 4th September 2015 featuring papers by chapter authors Malcolm Cook, Birgitta Hosea and James Newton.

Book-covePS

Chapter 9: Off the Rails: Animating Train Journeys by Birgitta Hosea

Landscape is often thought of as eternal and unchanging, but in reality it is changing all the time due to variations in habitation, agriculture, industry and climate change. The mobility paradigm in urban geography and sociology proposes that cities and society can be studied in terms of travel rather than stasis – through the movement of peoples, resources, data, finance – in order to understand the formation of identity, ideology, power and society. Indeed, in 2012 the average resident of the UK spent 361 hours travelling a total of 6,691 miles. 11 % of this travel was done by public transport. During their travels, the experience that these average residents had of landscape was of passing through places before arriving at their final destination.

In accord with these ideas about mobility, rather than considering landscape as a static entity, this chapter focuses on animations that move between locations and are concerned with trajectory and locomotion. After noting the connections between early cinema and the train, I examine a body of works that are all thematically linked through their association with animated train journeys, although they represent a range of practices that might be considered pre-cinematic animation, cinematic animation and post-cinematic animation. Imagined landscape in animation – from the pre-filmic phantom rides and moving panoramas, to Ivor the Engine, Thomas the Tank Engine, Madame Tutli~Putli, transport information films, post-filmic subway zoetropes and railway simulation games – is considered in terms of the implications of the mobility paradigm for animation, not just in terms of visual content or subject matter, but in terms of animation as a concept and the politics of animation. To conclude, it will be argued that the animated railway journey can be read as a metaphor for the transience and flux at the root of contemporary society that Zygmunt Bauman has termed liquid modernity.

Off the Rails: Animating Train Journeys

Documentation from the CUT! Exhibition

CUT! was an exhibition at the Old Operating Theatre Museum, 9a St Thomas’ Street, SE1 9RY that ran from 3 November 2014 to 15th December 2014. This museum is sited in a former anatomical theatre and herb garret from the ancient St Thomas hospital. There has been a hospital on this site near London Bridge for over 1,000 years!

Animations inspired by the museum’s quirky range of artefacts from medical history were created by students from MA Character Animation at Central Saint Martins with soundtracks composed by students from Guildhall School of Music. MACA’s Visiting Professor, Shelley Page, and the museum’s Creative Director, Kevin Flude, helped the students to brainstorm ideas for short 1-minute films.

The 40 films that the students made were curated by student curators from MA Culture, Criticism and Curation and placed as interventions into the museum’s permanent collection, like a haunting or re-animation of the solid objects. The films were projected onto the wall of the famous anatomical theatre, below cabinets and tucked away in drawers and surgical cabinets. This contrast between contemporary, digital animation and historic artefacts and site proved popular with visitors and raised issues about how audiences relate to original objects in glass cases.

The curation team ran a series of events during the exhibition and also created a CUT! exhibition app which is available on the Apple App Store.

Pictures from the exhibition:

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Documentation from the CUT! Exhibition

Goodbye Piccadilly: 16th May 2014 – 8th March 2015

Films by students of MA Character Animation at Central Saint Martins bring the First World War to life at the London Transport Museum

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Second Year students of the course worked with archival recordings from the museum’s oral history collection to augment the exhibits in the Goodbye Piccadilly exhibition, which runs from 16th May 2014 –  8th March 2015 at the London Transport Museum in Covent Gardens. One of many exhibitions commemorating the outbreak of the dreadful events of World War 1, this show focusses on the Home Front – events in London.

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The accomplished animated films combine a mixture of techniques such as hand drawing, stop motion, Cel Action, Maya, Flash and After Effects to visualise elements of the collection that exist in the form of sound recordings only. This includes an account of the origin of the song ‘It’s a Long Way to Tipperary’ and the stories of women’s suffrage during the First World War, such as the struggle of women bus conductors for equal pay. The concepts for the films were selected by museum staff from a series of pitches by the talented students, who worked together in teams of four to complete the films to a strict deadline.

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Goodbye Piccadilly: 16th May 2014 – 8th March 2015

Liquid Boundaries at the Shenzhen Architecture and Urbanism Biennale

Central Saint Martin’s Head of College, Jeremy Till, recently curated the UK Pavilion at the 2013 Shenzhen Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism taking an animated approach to his exhibition design concept with films made by students of MA Character Animation and MA Communication Design. Taking place in Southern China, this is one of the world’s most important architecture exhibitions, with over 500,000 people estimated to visit over the course of three months.

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Responding to the Biennale’s overall theme of urban boundary, architect and architectural theorist, Jeremy Till, responded with a concept of liquid boundaries. He explained to students:

We live, Zygmunt Bauman tells us, in an age of liquid modernity. Labour, capital, time and commodities have achieved an unheard-of sense of fluidity as global flows of people, money, the virtual and goods dissolve previously stable conditions.

And yet against this socio-temporal liquidity, space has apparently hardened, throwing up ever more rigid boundaries as the production of space is increasingly codified and commodified. The proposal for the UK pavilion at the Shenzhen Biennale investigates how a new generation of British architects, spatial agents and activists are challenging the fixity of boundaries and the regulation of space. From co-housing to the Occupy movement, temporary interventions to playing with codes, the exhibit will show a range of methods through which boundaries have become liquid – suggesting that these more fluid spaces are best suited to emerging social conditions of negotiation and flexibility.

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The UK Pavilion was a joint production by several of the MA courses at Central Saint Martins. The curatorial team working for Jeremy Till consisted of myself, Alison Green, Tricia Austin and Rebecca Wright. The exhibition displayed films by students from MA Character Animation and MA Communication Design and was designed by students from MA Communication Design and MA Narrative Environments. A catalogue was produced by students from MA Culture, Criticism and Curation that was designed by students from MA Communication Design. Having the only seating area in the whole exhibition was a real draw!

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IMG_0827The animations in the pavilion were a response to the work of architects and planners.  Open City, directed by Yukai Du (production team: (Kee) Jiaqi Liu, Andrea Gulli, Mohan Ganesha) responded to ideas about creative commons for the city proposed by 00 Architects. See more of Yukai Du’s work on her website.

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The Planning Game, directed by Ria Dastider (production team: (Frank) Yu Wang, Natalia Biegaj, Laura Keer) took the form of a retro game to illustrate the ideas of David Knight, DK-CM Architects, who aims to make planning popular. See more of Ria Dastider’s work on her website.

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Here is David Knight talking about his research into making planning regulations more accessible:

Liquid Boundaries at the Shenzhen Architecture and Urbanism Biennale

The evils of alcohol: early French cut-out animation by Marius O’Galop and Robert Lortac

Marius O’Galup (1867 – 1946) was an illustrator and animator who created around 20 short films using paper cut-outs. The public information films shown below from You Tube were made around 1918.

Robert Lortac (1884 – 1973) created around 20 films for Pathé, which were either educational or children’s stories. He went on to work in animated commercials until the late 30’s. The quality of these films he made in 1922 is not good, but still interesting to look at in terms of style.

For more information about the early French animators Marius O’Galup, Robert Lortac and Emile Cohl, see Valérie Vignaux’s interesting article in the Animation Interdisciplinary Journal: Entertainment and Instruction as Models in the Early Years of Animated Film.

The evils of alcohol: early French cut-out animation by Marius O’Galop and Robert Lortac