In this second symposium for Expanded Animation at Ars Electronica, we continue our exploration of affect: how animation is felt through sensory information processed by the body. For the second year, this takes a focus on inter-relationships between hearing and seeing.
From the early pioneers, both the audio and the visual components of moving image have been intrinsic to the medium. According to experimental filmmaker Walter Ruttmann (1887-1941), the ‘music of light has always been and will remain the essence of cinema’. Another pioneering avant-garde filmmaker, Germaine Dulac (1882-1942), connected this with movement, ‘cinema and music have this in common: in both movement alone can create emotion by its rhythm and development’.
Our intention with this symposium is to go beyond superficial, formal connections between sound and animated images to think about how the senses are engaged and thus the central role of the body in engaging with perception and experience. Indeed, philosopher, Maurice Merleau Ponty argues that synaesthetic connections – the cross-wiring between all our senses – is at the root of perception, how we understand the world. In using digital technology we are working with a synaesthetic medium in which all sense perceptions can be codified as inputs and expressed in a common language of zeros and ones that can be fluidly interchanged.
In raising issues about the senses and the body, we are also responding to these peculiar times of pandemic when so much of our interactions have been mediated through a screen rather than through direct experience and physical encounter. We have chosen a range of different speakers who responded to our themes in different ways and I do hope you find all of the talks thought provoking and inspiring.
In the age of pandemic, our previously normal experiences of human touch and intimate proximity have become mediated by the screen rather than felt directly. We can no longer hear live music and feel the sonic vibrations; see a painting’s texture in close proximity; become immersed in the events of live theatre or engage in debate: these events are now bounded by the flat rectangular screen and limited by the extent of the pixels in our screen’s resolution.
Under these conditions, how can animation, in combination with music or audio art, re-engage us with bodily sensations received through the senses?
Coming together as a series of online events, this year’s Expanded Animation (http:/ /www.expandedanimation.com)symposium at Ars Electronica continues a dialogue about relationships between the senses, in particular the auditory and the visual. What are the rules, principles, and processes that govern correlations between sound and animation? How might these embodied sensations be explored, unpacked and reassembled in our age of virtual communication intensified by COVID-19?
Keynote Speaker: Refik Anadol
Our Keynote Speaker is media artist, director and pioneer in the aesthetics of data and machine intelligence, Refik Anadol. His body of work locates creativity at the intersection of humans and machines. In taking the data that flows around us as the primary material and the neural network of a computerized mind as a collaborator, Anadol paints with a thinking brush, offering us radical visualizations of our digitized memories and expanding the possibilities of architecture, narrative, and the body in motion. Anadol’s site-specific AI datasculptures, liveaudio/visual performances, and immersive installations take many forms, while encouraging us to rethink our engagement with the physical world, its temporal and spatial dimensions, and the creative potential of machines.
In response to these themes, we call for academics and artists to propose 20-minute papers that bring the disciplines of music, audio art and animation together from a variety of perspectives: from historical, theoretical or critical perspectives to new and surprising practice. If the paper is practice-based, it should include reflection and contextualisation in addition to presenting the practice.
The proposal should include an abstract of no more than 500 words (including references) and a short biography of no more than 200 words.
In the field ‘Title and Abstract’ please enter the text for both your abstract and your bio. Do not submit a web link instead of a bio. This information can also be attached as a PDF document.
List of Topics
Suggested topics include:
Hearing Colour Seeing Sound Can music become visual? How did pioneers of visual music such as Oskar Fischinger and Mary Ellen Bute translate melody, harmony and rhythm into the form of animation? And can moving drawings become music? How can historic and / or contemporary practice demonstrate synaesthetic syntax?
In front of your eyes and ears With a perceived disparity between the slow time taken to create animation and the instant time taken to perform music, how can animation be performed live? Can the audio and the visual be combined in improvised performance? How can live, hand scribing or music notation or coding or drawing be used to conjure spontaneous audio-visual performance? What is gained from real-time, instant creation in the present moment? What does it mean for ‘liveness’ to experience this at home through a screen rather than being fully present at the event?
Rhythmanalysis Repetition and difference is at the heart of rhythm, at the heart of the algorithm, at the heart of animation, at the heart of lived experience. Rhythm is everywhere. From the natural – visceral, internal rhythms of the body breathing and the heart pumping or the slow changing of the seasons; to the artificial – externally imposed rhythms ordering us through the ticktock of mechanical clock-time or the ebb and flow of economic cycles. How does rhythm connect audio and animation? What might animation learn from audio and music theory and vice versa?
A Return to the Material In an age of digital synthesis and screen-based connections is there a craving for a return to the material? Do we long for haptic feedback and analogue experience: the touch of guitar strings, the feel of charcoal smearing under the fingers, banging a drum, painting on film? Is this simply a form of nostalgia or might it be thought through in new ways? How can it be brought together in the audio-visual?
The symposium is jointly organised by Dr Juergen Hagler, Ars Electronica, University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria, Hagenberg and Professor Dr Birgitta Hosea, Animation Research Centre, University for the Creative Arts, Farnham, UK.
Professor Rose Bond, PNCA, USA
Dr Max Hattler, School of Creative Media, CityU, Hong Kong
Laura Lee, Audio Research Cluster, UCA
Dr Vicky Smith, Animation Research Centre, UCA
Dr Harry Whalley, Audio Research Cluster, UCA
The conference will be held online as part of Ars Electronica Festival in Linz, Austria. The media festival will take place on 8th-12th of September 2021 under the motto “A New Digital Deal – How the Digital World Could Work” (https://ars.electronica.art/newdigitaldeal/en/).
[All of the events from this year’s Expanded Animation strand at Ars Electronica are now available to view online on their You Tube Channel.]
Come together on Sun 13th Sept for a Synaesthetic Syntax ‘Watch Party’ at IKLEKTIK London. At this socially distanced event, a small group of attendees can watch the online symposium from the final day of the Expanded Animation events for Ars Electronica on a big screen together. The presentations explore the interrelationships between audio and animation, between sound and vision. It is hosted by co-organiser Birgitta Hosea of the Animation Research Centre and a few of the UK speakers will be in attendance. This event is supported by the University for the Creative Arts. For more information and to book a free place, go to: https://synaesthetic-syntax-watchparty.eventbrite.co.uk.
Synaesthetic Syntax: Sounding Animation / Visualising Audio is a one-day symposium that brings together animators, musicians, artists, technologists and academics to discuss the interrelationships between audio and animation. Papers cover topics such as synaesthetic connections between sound and image, the role of gesture, improvisation and presence in live performance and the creative use of geometric and algorithmic patterns.
Our Keynote speaker is media artist, Rose Bond, who produces work at the juncture of cinema, animation and experiential design. She will be presenting her latest animated collaboration with the Oregon Symphony Orchestra on a live performance of Luciano Berio’s Sinfonia.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ars Electronica festival is mainly taking place online this year with a number of small events taking place at different associated venues around the world. The Expanded Animation strand will have a series of small, socially distanced Watch Parties in Linz, London and Portland.
Synaesthetic Syntax Symposium Schedule:
10:15–10:45 Keynote: Rose Bond (CA/US), Sounding Together – Choreographing the Unpredictable
11:05–12:40 Panel I: Hearing Colour Seeing Sound 11:05–11:10 Introduction: Birgitta Hosea (UK)
11:10–11:30 Vicky Smith (UK), Expanded Cinema and Para Animation: More than Audio and Visual 11:30–11:50 Alexander Stublic (DE), Presence and interaction in synaesthetic space 11:50–12:10 Sama Mara (UK), A Hidden Order – Revealing connections between geometry and music through harmony and mathematics 12:10–12:40 Panel Discussion (Chaired by Birgitta Hosea)
14:00–15:30 Panel II: In front of your eyes and ears 14:00–14:05 Introduction: Harry Whalley (UK)
14:05–14:25 Giusy Caruso, Bavo Van Kerrebroeck, Pieter Jan Maes (BE), PIANO PHASE for two pianists in VR 14:25–14:45 Umut Eldem (BE), Towards a “Live Synaesthetic Visualisation”? Considerations in Artistically Visualised Sound 14:45–15:05 Jānis Garančs (LV), Algorithmic conflation and re-configuration of audiovisual space and movement in the series of experiments with financial data audio-visualisations as immersive artworks. 15:05–15:30 Panel Discussion (Chaired by Harry Whalley)
16:00–17:30 Panel III: The Kinaesthetics of Music and Vision 16:00–16:05 Introduction: Juergen Hagler (AT)
16:05–16:25 João Pedro Oliveira (US), Gesture Interaction Between Sound and Image 16:25–16:45 Fred Collopy (US), A hypothesis-based approach to visual synthesizer design 16:45–17:05 Eric Dyer (US) Physical Presence and Material Desire: Eric Dyer’s sculptural and performative animation art practice 17:05–17:30 Panel Discussion (Chaired by Juergen Hagler)
17.30-18.00 Closing Note: Rose Bond (CA/US), Birgitta Hosea (UK), Juergen Hagler (AT),