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.

Advertisements
Off the Rails: Animating Train Journeys

Documentation of SEeAFAR

Foá + Hosea, Carali McCall, Anne Robinson, Sarah Sparkes, Thurle Wright

Folkstone Triennial Fringe 29-31st August 2014
Deptford X 27th September – 5th October 2014

folkestoneopen-logo IMG_1068

 

 

 

Curated by Birgitta Hosea

He will not have been (a) present but he will have made a gift by not disappearing without leaving a trace.
(Jacques Derrida in Re-Reading Levinas,1991)

Seeafar features new work by six artists whose practice traces the presence of absence through drawing, painting, installation, performance and moving image. Recalling the perspective of generations of women living in a state of unknowing as they wait for news or the return of loved ones from overseas, the works explore the tensions between anticipation and memory, separation and speculation. The visionary act of making becomes an empowering process that enables each one of us to think things into the world, to reveal the hidden and make manifest the unsaid.

The Old Truckers Lounge, Folkestone Harbour

P1030962

P1030965

P1030959

Foá + Hosea 
Traion III (Folkestone), Mixed Media (Graphite/pen on paper, projected animation), Dimensions variable (2014)

In the Traion series, Foá + Hosea respond to the myth of the first drawing, in which Butades’s daughter traced the outline of her lover’s shadow on the wall to hold on to his memory before he left on a journey. Foá + Hosea engage with this dilemma – the impossibility of attempting to hold time – through fixing their digital shadows in place with animation. In the title of the series, the words ‘trace’ and ‘motion’ are merged to reference their process of drawing over film, in which evidence of presence and motion is traced.

Artists’ bio: Maryclare Foá draws to examine the relationship and affects between place and practitioner. Her PhD revealed how sound can be drawing that interacts with the environment. She teaches for Central Saint Martins and writes for Studio International. Birgitta Hosea is a media artist working with expanded animation, installation and performance. Her work and PhD explore performativity, presence, affect and digital materiality. She is Course Director of MA Character Animation at CSM. Both artists have exhibited internationally and awards include Foá – RCA Drawing prize and twice shortlisted for the Jerwood Drawing Prize and Hosea – MAMA Holographic Arts Award and an Adobe Impact Award. Foá and Hosea work individually and also collaborate. Recent collaborative works have been exhibited in Paris – Dans ma cellule, une silhouette, Centre d’Art Contemporain, La Ferme du Buisson; London – Draw to Perform, ]Performance Space[; DRAFT, Parasol Unit; Bletchley Park – Ghost Station and Orkney – Papay Gyro Nights.

www.maryclarefoa.com
www.birgittahosea.co.uk

P1040093
P1040430

P1040170

P1040178

Carali McCall
Work no. 4 (Restraint / Running) Folkestone, Performance to camera (2014)

In an area of performance drawing, which considers drawing to be connected to movement through the act of doing and physical activity, this performance addresses what it means to use the extreme form of physical activity – running. Using (myself) the runner to articulate an understanding of how the body moves through space, I use the ‘breath’ and the discipline of marathon training to explore how the physical act of running can be a viable form of drawing.

Artist’s bio: Carali McCall is an artist working and living in London from Canada. She completed her MFA at Slade School of Art, UCL in 2006 and has recently submitted her practice-based PhD thesis at Central Saint Martins, UAL. Although training for marathons and ultramarathons have always occurred alongside her art practice, it was not until she adopted Euclid’s definition of the line ‘a line is a breadthless length’ and began to explore the role of the body in drawing that McCall has become aware of potential connections between running and drawing. Since studying the influences and the trajectory of performance art practices, her recent work has been used to explore linear properties beyond conventional mark making processes. Recent exhibitions and presentations of work include, Performing Site, Falmouth University 2014, Draw to Perform, Performance Space, London, 2013 and Again and Again and Again: Serial Formats and Repetitive Actions, Vancouver Art Gallery, Canada, 2012.

www.caralimccall.org

CM_running

IMG_1787

P1040175

IMG_1809

Anne Robinson
Skinny White Sailor, 4-6 x paintings, 30.5cm x 40.5cm, oil on canvas (2014)
Thrashing In the Static, Single screen video, 10 minute loop (2014)

How far is too far? How can we look over the edge, feel our way beyond the horizon, traverse time zones and cross the bounds of one human life? The two new works presented here, paintings in the series Skinny White Sailor and the song-film Thrashing In the Static, involve a haunting – keeping watch in the night for revenant sailors. In Robinson’s song-films the voice becomes spirit presence. In Thrashing In the Static, the wavelengths of a search for a brother lost at sea soar over the edge across time zones – a ‘traveling eye’ crossing from the Thames foreshore in 21st century London, way back to an island in the South China Sea in 1942, a dream terrain, long away and far ago. The work draws on surrealism, phenomenology and radical philosophies of time to work with uncanny presence, the sorcery of long exposures, high speed filming and painterly surface distorting out time sense.

Artist’s bio: Anne Robinson’s practice encompasses painting, moving image installations and performance and is concerned with the perception and politics of time passing in art.  She has shown work nationally and internationally, recently working with the Commonist Gallery and CGTV on film and singing interventions. She completed a residency in 2013 in Marseilles at De Centre der Space. She has published in: The Journal of Visual Arts Practice and The Journal of Media Practice as well as curating One More Time (2011), Over Time (2014) and being one of the art curators for the Supernormal festival. She has recently completed a PhD on temporality and painting and also works with the moving image in collaboration with other artists and as an educator, currently senior lecturer in Film at London Metropolitan University.

annerobinsonartwork.org

AnneR

IMG_1762

P1040107

P1040445

Sarah Sparkes 
The Haunted Sea and Jane Conquest Rings the Bell, Mixed media (2014)

Sarah Sparkes’ great grandfather was a Magic Lanternist. Using his decaying lantern slides and combining these with a magician’s optical effects, the artist has created a series of works illuminating the ambiguous relationship between the woman watching on the shore and the spectre of the shipwreck at sea. In Jane Conquest rings the Bell a standard maritime narrative is re-imagined, in which a visionary woman looks out from behind the helm of destiny.

Artist’s bio: Sarah Sparkes’ work, as both an artist and curator, is primarily concerned with concepts of immateriality and how this might be visualised. She runs the visual arts and cross-disciplinary research project GHost, which explores how ghosts are manifested in visual art and contemporary culture. Her chapter on Ghost has been published in The Ashgate Research Companion to Paranormal Cultures, 2014. Recent exhibitions include Theatrical Dynamics at Torrance Art Museum, Los Angeles; The Infinity Show at NN Contemporary, Northampton and Haunted Landscapes, University of Falmouth, Cornwall. She is currently developing work for the Over Time project in Greenwich, London and is one of the selected artists for Art in Romney Marsh Churches, 2014.

www.sarahsparkes.com

P1040414

P1040127

P1040123

P1040399

Thurle Wright
Crossing, Collage (Found map of Dover Strait and two poems by Matthew Arnold; ‘Dover Beach’ and ‘Calais Sands’), 90x100cm, (2012)
Deep Reading (Extract from children’s adventure novel and old school atlas, glue, on paper), 60 x 20″, (2010)

An oily old sea map and pages from a poetry book: the poems in this work are addressed to a woman at the end of her honeymoon travels. The poet, Arnold, speaks to his new wife as he gazes out to sea at night contemplating the future in a mood of great uncertainty and melancholy. In deconstructing the lines of the poems and stitching them in small paper stages across the map, the physical progress of the sea crossing is referenced, flowing alongside the slow unravelling process of reflecting and writing itself. There is a patient stitching of thoughts, not knowing how it will end. The words themselves become waves and currents, caught in that space between leaving and arriving, at the mercy of the tides.

Artist’s Bio: Thurle’s delicate paper reconstructions stem from an interest in the systems and structures of language, the ordering of knowledge, the collecting, storing and accessing of words. Working in the gap between the concrete and abstract impression of text on paper, Thurle cuts, folds, weaves and stitches lines of words into a new visual format, in which traces of the original mingle with personal, often playful or poetic interpretations. Thurle has shown work widely both in the UK and internationally including the Bookarts Triennial in Lithuania, Deptford X, and Brussels Art on Paper. Her work is in various public and private collections including Brisbane Sate Library. Numerous residencies include work for the V&A Museum of Childhood, Perth Central School of Art and Design, Fremantle Arts Centre, Camberwell Arts Festival and various colleges.

www.thurle.com

Crossing

P1040117

P1040403

P1040464Bonus artwork by Sandra Louison at Folkestone

P1040152

P1040153

Num3er, Creekside, Deptford

IMG_1742

IMG_1802

IMG_1803

Acknowledgements: thanks to all of the artists for their help in putting together this exhibition as well as Anne Pietsch, Sandra Louison and the teams behind the Folkestone Fringe, Num3er and Deptford X

 

 

Documentation of SEeAFAR

SEeAFAR: 27th Sept – 5th Oct 2014

E_Deptford-X-e-invite

Fresh from the Folkestone Triennial Fringe, this touring exhibition curated by Birgitta Hosea brings together new work from Foa + Hosea, Carali McCall, Anne Robinson, Sarah Sparkes and Thurle Wright. Using a range of media – drawing, animation, performance to video, light installation, painting and collage, the works engage with living with the constant presence of an absence through the metaphor of waiting for someone to return from sea.

OPEN FROM 12-6pm on: 27th, 28th September and 1-5th October

PRIVATE VIEW: Friday 26th September 6-8pm – if you would like to attend – register for the Private View on Facebook or EventBrite

[Invite image Jane Conquest Rings the Bell (detail) Sarah Sparkes, mixed media, 2014]

SEeAFAR: 27th Sept – 5th Oct 2014

Making London Transport Museum Posters Move

Stuck for design inspiration? Not just for trainspotters, the London Transport Museum has an extraordinary collection of over 5,000 posters in their online archive. Spanning a century of graphic design, the collection features posters inspired by Surrealism, Vorticism, Pop Art, Fauvism – indeed most of the major movements in painting during this period. Not only a visual treasure trove, it offers a fascinating insight into the lives of ordinary Londoners: how they lived and spent their leisure time, how they survived two world wars, how the city continues to stretch and grow. Here is a selection depicting London entertainment:

The West End is awakening, by Ernest Michael Dinkel, 1931

City, by Edward Bawden, 1952

Pantomimes and circuses, by Joan Beales, 1954

The City of London, by Abram Games, 1964

Take your travelcard to the pictures, by unknown artist, 1987

West End entertainments, by Donna Muir and Su Huntley, 1987

All images © Transport for London from http://www.ltmcollection.org/posters.

Students on the MA Character Animation course at Central Saint Martins are just starting on a new Moving Posters assignment inspired by 10 historic posters that were designed by former students or staff from the college. Their animation work will be featured alongside the original posters in an exhibition in the Window Gallery at CSM in May and will be available to download in the London Transport Museum via QR code on mobile phones by the end of March. Contact us if you would like to be invited to the Window Gallery private view on Friday May 11th in Kings Cross, London.

Making London Transport Museum Posters Move

Bodies Moving Through Space

In the Life Drawing Field Trip that MA Character Animation recently took to London’s Southbank Centre, we looked at the scale and perspective of people moving through urban architecture. Starting in Waterloo Station, we drew people in motion and examined the change of scale from background to foreground. After more drawings in the streets and down by the river Thames, we convened in the BFI Cafe, where it was warm, to look at each other’s drawings and to get feedback from Life Drawing tutor Maryclare Foa.

The whole issue of the shape of physical movement through space is of special interest in the world of performance and especially dance. In the Bauhaus, Oskar Schlemmer padded and extended the bodies of his performers into abstract shapes and choreographed movements that took the form of patterns. Here is a reconstruction of Schlemmer’s Triadic Ballet by Margarete Hastings in 1970.

To see more recreations of Schlemmer’s original dance performances see this website for Bauhaus Dance videos.

William Forsythe is a contemporary choreographer and dancer who works with the body in architecture. Here is a clip from One Flat Thing Reproduced.

In the next clip you can see how he works with a development of Rudolph Laban’s notion of the kinesphere – the invisible three-dimensional space that surrounds us – and composes his choreography based on patterns in space.

For more information on this work and links to other fascinating projects, see the Synchronous Objects site.

Animate Projects have just curated an online exhibition Moving Pictures in conjunction with Portland Green cultural projects, who specialise in dance film. This exhibition features projects which combine animation and dance.

Bodies Moving Through Space