Maryclare Foá and myself were commissioned to create a new piece of work for this exhibition inspired by the legend of the first drawing told by Pliny the Elder. In this apocryphal tale a Corinthian maiden, whose name is not recorded, traces a line on the wall around the shadow of her lover as he is about to depart. Her father, Butades, a potter, fills the outline with clay and fires it in his kiln.
This action of Butades’s daughter, in which she attempts to freeze time and contain presence, is seen by many art historians as the foundational act of Western painting and drawing.
This exhibition curated by Lore Gablier for La Ferme du Buisson features the work of different artists who use drawing to investigate the visualisation of absence, loss and desire. Artists included are: William Anastasi / Abdelkader Benchamma / Mathieu Bonardet / Geta Brătescu / Maryclare Foá & Birgitta Hosea (Performance Drawing Collective) / Jean Genet / Dennis Oppenheim / Santiago Reyes / Till Roeskens / Carla Zaccagnini.
Here is the English translation of the text by curator Lore Gablier about the exhibition:
I have the shape of a dead man on the wall of my cell. He’s been in his grave almost five years now, yet his shadow still lingers. He was no one and nothing. All that remains of him is a handful of old rape charges and a man-shaped pencil sketch. Perhaps it’s just superstition, but I can‘t help but feel that erasing it would be like erasing the fact that he ever existed. That may not be such a bad thing, all things considered, but I won’t be the one to do it.
- Damien Echols, Life After Death
(Damien Echols was sentenced to death by the state of Arkansas in 1994 after being wrongly convicted of murder at the age of 19. He was released from prison in 2011)
Offering an exploration of drawing in its relation to gesture and the body, the exposition Dans ma cellule, une silhouette turns to the story of the daughter of the Corinthian potter Butades who, before her lover left on a long journey, “drew an outline of the shadow of his face as cast by the light of a lamp.” If this seminal act, as told by Pliny the Elder in his Natural History, has come to be considered as an allegory for the origin of drawing and painting, it is, at the same time, an invitation to renew our relation with the visible.
Through her act, the young woman refers us to that which remains invisible in the visible in this instance her desire, which cannot reconcile itself in the image. What we see is, as such, always inhabited by the absence of what we cannot see, an absence that not only structures our vision, but also allows the advent of a potentiality or, as Jean-Luc Nancy explains, “the indeterminate possibility of the possible as such, a potentiality of being [pouvoir Ítre] that is not the abstract form of a being that remains to be embodied, but is rather itself a modality and a consistence of being: a being of power [Ítre de pouvoir], the reality of momentum, of birth and beginning.”
Freed from the gaze and returned to a physical act, drawing opens up a multiplicity of forms and potentialities, as the works brought together for this exhibition testify. Drawing becomes alternately the inscription of a gesture, a repeated action or constraint, a narrative support, the means of a tactile exchange, the boundary of a theatrical space. Or else, drawing hallows itself out, empties itself, by erasure, comes to life. In each case what drawing reveals is the body itself: a body that lends itself less to being active, efficient or operative, than it does to a momentum through which it releases its sensuality.
Birgitta Hosea setting up the work with the help of Anne Pietsch, Lore Gablier and the technical staff at La Ferme du Buisson.
Traion 1 (Ferme) 2014 (Maryclare Foá & Birgitta Hosea)
Material: Mixed Media (Graphite on paper, projected animation, chalk)
Just as Butades’s daughter traced the outline of her lover before he left on a journey, so we (Foá & Hosea), following the same method, tracing round the shadows of our bodies cast by the electrical light onto the paper surface, attempt to hold time by fixing our shapes in place.
The multiple lines in this Traion (trace of presence in motion) also attempt to hold motion while leading into the gestured animated outlines of our digital shadows.
It is with some nostalgia that I load my graduation film from MA Computer Imaging and Animation, London Guildhall University, 1999. In this film I was exploring the concept of psychological epidemics: how ideas spread like viruses. This experimental short film combines hand-painted Super-8 footage with DV video, text animation, 3DS Max and After Effects. It features Sandra Louison in the lead role as an office worker. 15 years on I wince at the wobbly bits, but still enjoy all the textures I was experimenting with.
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.
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.
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!
The 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.
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.
Here is David Knight talking about his research into making planning regulations more accessible:
On Wednesday 30th October 2013, I was lucky enough to be present at the London Premiere of Nishiki Kag-E, a Japanese magic lantern performance based on a reconstruction of how the work would have been presented during the Edo period (1603-1867). These ghost stories were put on by the Japan Foundation to celebrate Hallowe’en.
Nishiki Kag-E performers
In the European tradition, magic lantern projectors were large, unwieldy and held in a static position although a little movement could be introduced to the images through manipulating and swapping the slides (and in some instances a form of dolly was used to zoom the images in and out). In Japan, however, a different tradition evolved whereby a number of performers held and manipulated mobile wooden projectors behind a paper screen. The performers wear straps to attach the projectors to their bodies. I was fascinated to see this, since in a piece of work I made at the Centre for Drawing in Wimbledon in 2009 with the artists group formerly known as Drawn Together, I made myself a similar contraption so that I could walk around the room with a moving projection of animation that echoed the process of drawing being carried out by the other artists.
Handheld projector, Drawn Together, 2009
The Fantasmaglia Japonica Ikeda-Gumi group from Osaka, Japan use a much more comfortable and ergonomic system than I used myself. Professor Mitsue Ikeda from Osaka University of the Arts has researched and reconstructed projectors from the Edo period.
The wood that the ‘furo’ projectors are made of is light and heat resistant so the performers don’t burn their hands with the heat of the light source. Through back projection onto a paper screen, each performer manipulates a separate character or element in the story. They can also swap and flip slides from the ‘taneita’ (slide carrier). Through the actions of their bodies and switching between different character poses on slide, a great range of expression is possible including distortion effects when the slide is projected at an extreme angle.
The performance that I saw was a ghost story Sakura-shiranami hyoito-bukuro (Cherry Blossoms, Foaming Waves, Flicking Bag). The plot concerned a burglar who was extremely disturbed to discover that objects he tried to steal had become ghouls behind this back. A live narrator recounted the story and made sound effects behind the screen. As we were seeing the show in London, we benefitted from digitally projected subtitles in English at the top of the screen.
The roots of the stories that were performed in Nishiki Kag-E came from traditional bunraku and kabuki theatre. This work is considered to be hugely influential on the development of Japanese animation as the performer is creating the animation of a hand painted character in a live scenario. Professor Ikeda informed us that this form of entertainment became popular after the first magic lanterns were imported from Holland during the Edo period. They were hugely popular until cinema began to replace them at the turn of the Showa Era (1926-1989).
I found the following clip of another troupe on You Tube, however, the performance lacks the subtlety and complexity of movement created by Professor Ikeda’s group.
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 can exchange ideas and disseminate their research. To join the group and receive further information about this and future events, contact <email@example.com>.
The 4th APGR Symposium was held at Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design, University of the Arts London on Saturday 23rd March and was extended to include researchers from the field of comics for the first time. The symposium featured a range of international speakers from the disciplines of animation and graphic novels who spoke from diverse practice-based and theoretical perspectives at the cutting edge of their subjects. Although graphic novels are without sound and movement and animation lacks a tactile, sensual interaction with paper and page turning, during the discussions that ensued many similarities between the two subject areas emerged:
a concern with humour, visual storytelling and the representation of character;
both disciplines have strong and inclusive communities of practice and scholarship;
there is a shared sense of work which externalises personal, interior thoughts and quirky ways of looking at the world.
Here is a list of the speakers and panel sessions with abstracts and speaker details:
International Communities of Practice (chaired by Professor Joan Ashworth, Royal College of Art):
Chanya Hetayothin, “Thai Shadow Play, ‘Nang Talung’: An Alternative Direction for Animation”
This presentation will examine ‘Nang Talung’, the shadow puppetry of the southern region in Thailand, as a creative source for my animation. I shall present the working process of the animated film. This investigates how I have modified the puppets, their movements and how I have integrated this traditional puppet performance into the contemporary animation.
Chanya Hetayothin spent almost 10 years in the Thai animation industry working as art director and animator. She is currently a PhD student at CCW (Camberwell, Chelsea, Wimbledon College of Art), University of the Arts London, (Year 3). Her PhD research started from an observation on how commercial models such as Disney and Anime affected Thai animation. Looking back to her own roots, she adopts Thai shadow puppetry as a raw material for her animation. Her research investigates how to integrate this traditional shadow play into contemporary animation.
Eliska Decka, “I am an animator…so now what?”
In this paper, I would like to present a first part of my current Ph.D. research which consists of the analysis of the career possibilities of young animators willing to make an independent authorship animation after finishing their perspective university studies. (The 3 year research is planning to focus on the budding New York independent animation scene in particular and on the possible translation of some of its good practice to the stagnant contemporary Czech animation.)
During this first phase of my research, presented in this paper, I have mapped the situation of the educational systems in American and European animation field. I used the methodology of oral history and led a number of in-depth semi-structured interviews with pedagogues, students, recent graduates and animation producers to find the key problems and challenges in the important transformation period from an academic safety net into a tough life of an animation professional. Apart from the interviews, I have worked with the texts used in the animation classes and with the student films as well. I also use my longtime experience as a festival dramaturgist and newly as a teacher. At the end of the paper, I would like to present some conclusions and possible recommendations that I have reached so far and discuss them with the audience.
Eliska Decka is a first year Ph.D. student of Film and TV School of Academy of Performing Arts (FAMU) in Prague. With her academic past including MA from a Film Studies Department (with a thesis “Autobiographical Elements in Films of Czech Female Animators”), Faculty of Arts, Charles University in Prague and MA from a Law Faculty, Charles University in Prague as well, she focuses her research and publication activities on the connection between animation theory and practice with especial interest in gender issues and social influence of animation and vice versa. She has been member of the Society of Animation Studies since 2009 and presented her papers at SAS conferences in Atlanta, Edinburgh and Athens. She teaches at Jan Amos Komensky University in Prague, publishes in various Czech and international cultural journals and compendiums and collaborates as a dramaturgist with a Czech Festival of Film Animation Olomouc.
Timothy Jones “Inscribing Common Ground: Social Learning in the Indian Animation Trade Press”
Recent studies of labor in the creative industries have made great progress revealing how film and television practitioners conceive identities, form social networks and generate production culture. However largely absent from the debate is the role played by a different kind of creative worker – trade press writers. This paper analyzes the unique contribution of a nascent trade press to institutional learning and community cohesion in the formation of an Indian animation industry.
Via semi-structured interviews with editors, columnists, bloggers and web-portal administrators, I explore the perspectives of writers about animation on skills development, organizational culture and identity. Applying a Communities of Practice approach, my research reveals how they manage knowledge crucial to sustaining national animation practitioner networks, despite substantial spatial and interactional limitations. Describing themselves not only as cheerleaders and aggregators but as ‘connectors’ and ‘ecosystem catalysts,’ their writing provides a conduit for social learning by which newcomers enter production communities, acquire subject awareness, shared tastes and norms. Likewise they offer a forum for experienced practitioners to debate positions and influence common agendas; these writers do not merely provide commentary on industry from the outside but are located within the very structures they cover. They identify as members of an animation community and are recognized as such by others, blurring established creative and critical roles and boundaries. Though they are not necessarily animators themselves, their identities are complex, and the creative contributions they make demonstrate the need to privilege a range of critical activities in assessment of animation production culture.
I am a 3rd year PhD candidate at the University of East Anglia, School of Film, Television and Media Studies. My current research concerns social learning in the creative industries, specifically animation education and the development of production culture in Indian animation practice. This paper is drawn from one of four chapters in my work-progress dissertation directly concerned with structures for animation learning and identity formation, falling between analysis of animation schools, commercial design institutes and professional associations. Existing in a contested space between media industry and animation studies, I believe my project directly addresses unresolved current challenges in both fields. Having participated in the last several PGR events, I am eager to explore these concerns with my fellow emerging animation scholars. I completed an MA in Critical Studies from the University of Southern California, School of Cinematic Arts. I am active in ASIFA and the Society for Animation Studies and a managing editor for the latter’s journal Animation Studies.
Gender and drawn narrative (chaired by Dr Birgitta Hosea, Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design, University of the Arts London):
Julia Greither, “Make the boys read! – Graphic novels as an enhancer of reading motivation”
During the last centuries, changing developments in the media were a constant. However, the ability to read, understand and reflect texts remain part of the most important skills in the modern and even the post-modern society. In the latest PISA- study of the OECD (PISA 2009a: 18ff.) reading literacy was the evaluated major-competence. The importance of reading literacy is evident, but the motivation to read declined under the OECD-level in the UK as well as in Germany. Especially boys do not read for entertainment in their spare time, and in all OECD participant states girls exhibit better reading skills than boys. In the last years reading promotion of boys is a main task in the literature classes, but the research has not found an efficient way to enter the findings of the theoretical reading research in the practicable method for education at school. The thesis of this lecture is that Graphic novels (as one of the favorite reading interests of boys) are able to be the foundation of a motivating literature class. The PISA-studies shows that boys significantly read more comics than girls and that reading comics in spare time is associated with being an inferior reader (PISA 2009b: 35f.). Linking these two facts – the interest in comics on the one hand and the need of reading promotion on the other hand – one may recognize the importance of graphic novels in the field of reading promotion for boys. The relevance of this thesis is increased by german studies, which demonstrate the deviation between the reading interests of pupils and the lecture-choice of teachers: The pupil.s favorite literature genres like fantasy or detective stories were rarely read at school. Teachers more often choose texts with a realistic and educational content, although this type of texts is one of the most unpopular ones for pupils. The genre of a text is often connected with its the length and this marks a further barrier for inferior readers, especially if the teacher chooses a book with more than 200 pages. The consequence is clear – the motivation to read is killed softly, sometimes already in the first years at elementary school (Richter/Plath 2005: 44f.). But the maximum of disaffection is reached in the grammar school in the age 14- 17 years only a quarter of the boys are pleased or very pleased with the literature class books. (Bischof/ Heidtman 2002: 30f.) Graphic novels offer the opportunity to use the interest of the pupils as a starting point to show them literature structures in combination with the visualization in the panels. The engagement of lettering and picture opens also less talented readers the possibility to understand texts and get an emotional connection to them. The synopsis of this lecture is the systematization of theopportunities of graphic novels with the three-step-conception by Christine Garbe (Garbe 2012:296ff.).
Julia Greither studied German Language/Literature and theology at the Martin-Luther-University of Halle-Wittenberg and then passed the traineeship as a teacher at the Latina A. H. Francke in Halle/Saale. She is currently a PhD student at the Institute of German Language and Literature, Departement of Didactics of German Language and Literature, Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg
Penelope Mendonça, “Mothers Storying the Absent Father: A Graphic Novel “
This paper will explore the way pregnant women/ first-time mothers of young children represent absent biological fathers through their stories of conception, pregnancy and early parenting. Bringing together my practice (drawing and graphic storytelling) and background in public engagement using graphic facilitation, story telling and accessible information, this process will seek to contribute new insights, approaches and original outputs. Engagement with women often on the fringes of research about motherhood will help inform a fictional, entertaining graphic novel which supports greater understanding of contemporary family life, alongside a written thesis analysing the theory, research findings and creative choices behind the novel. Given the early stage of the project this paper will provide an introduction to my research interests, practice and proposed methodology.
Where the biological father has been absent since before birth (for reasons other than employment) women may feel a need to rationalise, defend or invent their choices and/or circumstances, whether they were planned and/or full of uncertainties. What do the narratives of these women tell us about motherhood, the performance of gender identities and family life today? What does this reveal about social context and culture? How can a methodology including graphic facilitation, experimental drawing and the language of comics contribute to our understanding, and challenge stereotypical, over-optimistic or romantic representations of pregnancy and early parenting? And given the subjectivity of memory and autobiography, and the way stories can emerge from a slip of the tongue, an image, a Facebook post, or a silence, what opportunities does the graphic novel form, with it’s ‘pictures, words, and the space between them’ (Wolk, 2007), present when exploring the ways in which women construct, adapt, or attempt to control absent biological father representation?
Penelope Mendonça is an independent graphic facilitator and artist with twelve years experience of engagement and development work within the private, public and third sectors. Using process design, meeting facilitation techniques, graphic recording and illustration, Pen supports a diverse range of organisations, businesses, communities, adults and children to listen, reflect, find creative solutions and agree a vision or plan. As part of her approach Pen visually captures key issues on large wall charts in real time for meetings and conferences. Pen is known for her ability to represent diversity, and issues that may be considered sensitive or controversial.
Pen has a BA (Hons) in Fine Art from Chelsea, University of the Arts (London), an Msc in Citizenship Studies from Birkbeck, University of London and is currently undertaking a PhD at Central Saint Martins (UAL). Born in New Zealand, Pen has a Diploma in Parks and Recreation Management (Lincoln University, NZ), has worked in India, the Middle East and the UK. Pen trained in graphic facilitation techniques with Grove Consultants International in 2000. Since then she has developed a significant body of highly original work tailoring her practice to meet the needs of each unique project. Her artwork, writing, storytelling and animation have been used widely in publications and websites on care, personalisation, disability and age. Prior to setting up her own business Pen worked as a National Officer for a large disability charity. She has a background in mental health, learning disability and older people’s services, she has provided direct support to people as well as managed care services, and even cleaned some of them.
Sequential narrative analysis (chaired by Dr Roger Sabin, Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design, University of the Arts London):
John Miers, “Score and Script: a practice-based investigation into the relationship between visual form and narrative content in comics”
Taking as its starting point Nelson Goodman’s discussion of ways of identifying and notating works of art, the Score and Script project aims to provide insights into the interdependent and mutually informing nature of visual form and narrative content in the cartoonist’s creative process. I began the project by creating a single-page comic, and then providing two groups of fifteen cartoonists with templates derived from that page. One group created single-page comics from a sparse written account of the events I had depicted, from which all visual description was removed, while the other used as their starting point a diagram that specified the location and dimensions of significant visual forms but provided no narrative information. The project is still ongoing, but twenty-three completed pages were exhibited in November 2012 at the Centre for Recent Drawing.
This paper will present the results gathered thus far and reflect critically on the theoretical basis of the project. Initial interpretive frameworks applied to the pages produced, based primarily on George Lakoff’s work on categorisation and conceptual metaphor, will be outlined, and some possible conclusions presented. I will also briefly discuss ways in which this interpretive process has continued to guide my individual practice, both through suggesting subsequent artistic research projects and informing comics produced outwith the context of formal research.
John Miers is a PhD student at Central Saint Martins. His practice is motivated by an interest in the unique visual languages of comics and graphic novels, and their ability to communicate complex subjects to diverse audiences. His work can currently be seen in the billboard-sized comic “Foyles: A Graphic History” on Charing Cross Road. Recent and forthcoming publications include Studies in Comics, Solipsistic Pop 5, and the Newcastle Science Comic.
Tony Venezia and Nina Mickwitz, “Bringing It All Back Home: Mediating the Iraq War in US Comics”
This paper consists of two connected parts. It opens by tracking a range of responses to the Iraq war in US comics, before more closely examining Brian Wood’s DMZ (DC/Vertigo, 2006-2012), a comics series emblematic of certain trends in recent mainstream American comics. The DMZ incorporates the processes of mass mediatisation of conflict within its formal texture, and at the same time adopts tropes of post-apocalyptic and dystopian sub-genres to narratively engage with anxieties concerning the Iraq war.
Tony Venezia has recently completed his PhD at Birkbeck College, writing on Alan Moore and the question of History. He is a founding member of Comics Grid, co-organises The Contemporary Fiction Seminar and the Transitions Symposium in Comics at Birkbeck, coming up to its 4th year. Tony guest edited the latest issue of the Intellect journal Studies in Comics; From Akira to Žižek: Comics and contemporary cultural theory.
Nina Mickwitz is a PhD candidate and associate tutor at the School of Film, Television and Media at UEA, writing a thesis on comics and documentary. She is also involved with the organisation of the Transitions Symposium.
2-4pm, Weds 20th March, Central Saint Martins, London
As part of the ‘Making Knowledge’ exhibition at Central Saint Martins, which presents practice-based research by staff, the second ‘Dialogues on Performance’ event is on the theme of performance drawing. Five speakers from a range of disciplines will discuss very different types of work that they have created which explore varied connections between drawing and performance. Steve Roberts, a traditional animator who specialises in animating in pencil, will talk about how his animation work is informed by acting techniques. Artist, Robert Luzar, will present conceptual work in which the body in motion imprints and enacts erasure. Rebecca Ross will show work that she does with students to program robots that make drawings in motion. Jenny Hayton and Graham West will show installation work in which architectural drawings are rendered through embroidery inspired by techniques from costume design. Maryclare Foa will present performance drawings created through sound.
Don’t miss the last chance to see William’s Kentridge’s atmospheric and evocative, multi-screen installation, I Am Not Me, The Horse is Not Mine (2008) in the Tate Modern Tanks. It finishes on Sunday 20th January.
The title of the piece is inspired by a Russian peasant saying that is used to deny guilt. In Kentridge’s talk about the work on 11/11/12, he related how the animations were created as part of the research process he undertook whilst working on a production of Dmitri Schostakovich’s opera, The Nose, from 1928. This satirical opera is based on Nikolai Gogol’s short story from 1837. Inspired by DADA and a long tradition of the absurd, which Kentridge traces back to Cervantes novel Don Quixote, it did not go down well with the Russian authorities who, according to Kentridge, referred to it as ‘a muddle not music’. Here is a clip with more information about the production.
As Kentridge worked in his studio to develop the production, many eclectic ideas came together for him: the history of the absurd in literature; the Soviet purges of intellectuals; the disembodied nose with a life of its own; the artist’s disembodied sense of judgement in inner dialogue with his intuitive approach to making work; the reconstruction of a coherent self from multiple fractured pieces; Modernism and collage; how we make knowledge from fragments; the amount of visual clues needed before we can recognise a fragment of black paper as a horse; the fragmented nature of the world; his own native South Africa and the fractured gap between the promise of enlightenment which underlies colonialism and the violence, brutality and exploitation that underlies it. It is all of these raw materials and more that have been brought together in the collection of animations that play across the screens in the Tanks.
For Kentridge, the artist’s process of bringing together multiple complex ideas is a metaphor for how we make sense of things. Looking at what is in effect his research and development work, we are presented with a state of becoming, an idea taking shape, but not yet fixed.
Medium, a living picture in which I take the role of a techno-medium, channel digital doubles and emanate electronic ectoplasm, will be performed again at two different events in December 2012:
Saturday 1st December, Exploding Cinema @ Besides the Screen, St James Hatcham, Goldsmiths College, St. James’s, New Cross, SE14 6AD. This event is on from 6.30-11pm. I will be performing live from 7-9pm. Tickets are £5.
December 6th 7th & 8th, GHost IV: Presence and Absence - Haunted Landscapes and Manifesting Ghosts, St. John on Bethnal Green, 200 Cambridge Heath Road, E2 9PA (next to Bethnal Green tube). Times - December 6th 6.00pm – 9.00pm (I will perform live 6-8pm),
December 7th 6.00pm – 10.00pm (I will perform live 6-8pm),
December 8th 2.30pm – 7.30pm (I will perform live 6-7pm).
This event is free.
Each of these GHost events I appear in are curated by Sarah Sparkes and also feature a host of other artists who do interesting things with moving image and installation. Click on the links for more information.
Here is a one minute excerpt from the first version of Medium, created for the Dickensian Hauntings exhibition curated by Illumini at Shoreditch Town Hall, London, September 2012. I’ll be doing a presentation on this work entitled, ‘The Medium is the Messenger’, at the next Colloquium of Performance Research, 17-18th January 2013, Central School of Speech and Drama, London.
Postscript: Curator, Sarah Sparkes, documented the GHost IV exhibition on her blog and also on Flickr.
Call for Papers: Animation / Graphic Novel Research Student Symposium, Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, University of the Arts London, Saturday 23rd March 2013
The Centre for Performance at Central Saint Martins warmly invites research students to submit proposals for the fourth animation PGR* research symposium, which will be extended for the first time to the field of graphic novels. 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.
Proposals on the topic of animation or graphic novels should be for either:
- a 20 minute conference paper (to be followed by 10 minutes of discussion);
- or an alternative discussion/presentation format as appropriate for practice-based research.
Send your proposals to Dr Birgitta Hosea <firstname.lastname@example.org>. Closing date 31st January 2013.
*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 can exchange ideas and disseminate their research. To join the group and receive further information about this and future events, contact <email@example.com>.
The Centre for Performance at Central Saint Martins brings together MA Character Animation, BA/MA Performance Design & Practice and Drama Centre London to offer a range of approaches to performance that are embodied, live, recorded, virtual or animated.
In the first week of MA Character Animation one of the activities that we do is a workshop on Shadow Puppets. Further to the work of historic and contemporary artists that I showed my students in class, I am posting some more clips for them here. The workshop is an opportunity to talk about the ancient puppetry techniques that have contributed to contemporary animation as well as to work in teams to create work that is spontaneous, immediate and relies on strong silhouettes. I enjoy the traces of artifice that result from having to work rapidly to produce something in one day – reflections of the room on the screen, the glimpses of hands and wires.
Although we look at examples of creating caricatures with bare hands from the Victorian music hall, usually my students don’t take up the suggestion to incorporate their own bodies in the shadow worlds they create. Hand shadowgraphy seems to be particularly well developed in India, for example this promotional video for tourism in Kolkata, Let Calcutta Surprise You:
Shadowgraphy acts are also prominently featured in the India’s Got Talent TV show:
In their live show, Shadowland, dance company, Gruppe Pilobus, combine the physical presence of the live body with objects to create dynamic shadow plays .
Here is the full version of Miwa Matrayek’s Dreaming of Lucid Living, in which Matrayek’s backprojected shadow is combined with black and white animation in a live performance.
Spring Heeled Jane, a recent film from Richard Mansfield’s Mucky Puppets in 2012, used a filmed version of shadow puppets.
I have previously posted clips of Ben Hibon’s work (see here). In his animation for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, you can see the influence of shadow puppet aesthetics to inform computer generated animation. Another short film in this vein is The Mysterious Explorations of Jasper Morellodirected in Australia by Anthony Lucas in 2005 and nominated for an Oscar.
Here’s another example of shadow art that my friend Jim Walker sent me:
It reminds me of the work of Tim Noble and Sue Webster, who create sculptures which are all about the shadows. More about their work here on their website.
Tim Noble / Sue Webster, Wild Mood Swings, 2009-10
Tim Noble / Sue Webster, Kiss of Death, 2003
Jim sent me another great example of a live sword dance performer combined with shadow images - Taichi Saotome in a Special New Year Performance of Dragon and Peony from the Galaxy Theatre, Tokyo in 2011.
Finally, I am grateful to Russell for sharing this clip of traditional Chinese Shadow Plays, which shows behind the scenes of a performance with historic puppets.