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Ecstatic Truth: Lessons of Darkness and Light, animated documentary symposi...

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Lecture Theatre 1

Royal College of Art

Jay Mews

London

SW7 2EU

United Kingdom

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“Fact creates norms, and truth illumination” Werner Herzog

The second animated documentary symposium at the RCA is back!

We want to continue with the examination of how animation can contribute to, challenge and push the boundaries of what documentary film can be. We will consider animation in the most expanded sense and are interested in proposals that may challenge and redefine the boundary of animation itself.

In the last symposium, one of the themes that emerged was one of archaeology and excavation. According to Herzog: “There are deeper strata of truth in cinema, and there is such a thing as poetic, ecstatic truth. It is mysterious and elusive, and can be reached only through fabrication and imagination and stylization.”

We invite speakers to present projects that roam the landscape (whether real or imagined), dig beneath the surface, penetrate through the sediments of our understanding of reality, explore vertical time of poetry, examine hidden histories, project visions of future, or trace new connections between concepts, use fabrication and imagination to touch upon vital issues: whether these are social, political, philosophical, or personal.

At a time of polarised political views and a deep sense of division, it seems to be a relevant moment to question the concept of darkness and light, aesthetically, politically, ethically, imaginatively. How can our work be of relevance, help us understand where we have been, where we are, and where we might go? How can the notion of ecstatic truth cast light on the shadowy concept of post-truth and what contribution can animated documentary bring to this debate? How can animation documentary, in its most expanded form, illuminate us?


PROGRAMME

9.30 – 10.00 arrival

10 -10.15 intro/welcome


10.15-10.45

Keynote: Annabelle Honess Roe

10.45 – 11.45

Traversing the terrain of space, time and form” Rose Bond

Rose Bond “Broadsided”

Must documentary be confined to a single screen? How does the siting of a screening influence its perception? This screening/talk focuses on documentary strategies in Rose Bond’s multi-screen animated installation Broadsided! which was sited in the windows of the Exeter Castle. A screened excerpt from Broadsided! documentation provides the basis for brief examination of documentary methods used to convey a point of view: research, reenactment, data visualization and parataxis.

Carla MacKinnon “Immersion and alienation: animated virtual realities”

This presentation will explore how animated documentaries are pioneering creativity in virtual reality (VR). I will propose that animated documentary is a good fit for VR technically and creatively, and that the distancing quality and ‘absence and excess’ (Honess Roe, 2013) of animated documentary complements the duel sensation of immersion and alienation evoked in the dreamlike experience of VR.

11.45 – 12.00

BREAK

12.00 – 1.00

"Deeper Strata"

Vincenzo Maselli: “Deeper strata of meanings in stop-motion animation: the meta-diegetic performance of matter”

Can puppets’ skin materials express deeper levels of signification in stop-motion animation cinema? The paper suggests the concept of autonomous performance of matter in stop-motion animation and aim to demonstrate that matter can express a sense of tactility and metaphorically act autonomously from the diegetic narrative, staging a second level of narrative (meta-diegetic).

Sally Pearce “Can I draw my own memory?” A visual essay

I try to use my pencil as a scalpel to extract a memory whole, but the memory will not be drawn out like a lump of tissue, instead it changes as soon as the pencil touches it. As my memory changes under the pencil, I am changed, I redraw myself.

Barnaby Dicker “A Quivering Terminus: Walerian Borowczyk’s Games of Angels, animated documentary and the social fantastic.”

This paper explores how Borowczyk’s Games of Angels (1964) utilises a fantastic topography to play with tropes of documentary and fiction in an effort to engage with painful social history in a direct, but far from literal way; its design and structure conveying, through a disturbing momentum, the experience of a quivering terminus.

1.00 -1.30

Panel discussion

1.30 – 2.30

LUNCH

2.30 – 3.00

Keynote: Lei Lei

Lei Lei always pay particular attention to collecting and collating historical texts and images during his experiment animated works and try to search for elements of the poetic and dramatic between reality and fiction. In Hand colored No.2, through the use of manual painting, Lei Lei and Thomas Sauvin try to connect black and white images of different people, attempting to construct a fictional character, narrating his personal history.

3.00 – 4.00

“Animation: Lessons of Darkness and Light”

Guli Silberstein: ‘The Schizophrenic State Project’

The Schizophrenic State Project, which started in 2000, contains a series of videos that appropriate mass media footage of violence, war, and protest, in the context of Israel, Palestine and the region. The images are processed via digital means in diverse ways, creating poetic works that formulate news media critique.

Becky James: “Expanding the Index in Animated Documentary”

Documentary animation examining mental state is a robust subgenre; often these works try to recreate an unusual psychological state to promote empathy and understanding. Using patient records and contemporaneous film strips, Betina Kuntzsch’s 2016 animation Spirit Away avoids speaking for, explaining, or diagnosing the female patients at the Heidelberg Psychiatric Clinic. Kuntzsch does not use the index to provide truth claim or to promote understanding, but instead the index acts as metaphor and distancing mechanism in this work about isolation.

Susan Young: “Bearing Witness: Autoethnographic Animation and the Metabolism of Trauma”

This presentation and short film screening examines my use of autoethnographic animation methodologies (which include myself as an experimental case study), in order to excavate and bear witness to the memories and lived experience of psychological trauma, and to challenge their related, often stigmatising and ‘othering’, psychiatric diagnoses.

4.00 – 4.15

BREAK

4.15- 5.00pm

Screening: Films

Lei Lei, “Recycled”

Peter Bo Ruppmund, “Tectonics”

5.00-5.30pm

Concluding panel discussion, chaired by Barnaby Dicker

5.30 Reception

This event is supported by the Society of Animation Studies, an international organisation dedicated to the study of animation history and theory since 1987. For more information: https://www.animationstudies.org.

For more information about studying MA Animation: Documentary: http://www.rca.ac.uk/schools/school-of-communication/animation/documentary-animation-pathway.

Video documentation of this event will be archived on our Vimeo channel at: https://vimeo.com/channels/documentaryanimation.”

Biographies:

ROSE BOND creates monumental, content driven animated installations. Rear projected in multiple windows, her themes are often drawn from the site – existing as monuments to the unremembered. Her installations have illuminated urban spaces in Zagreb, Toronto, Exeter UK, New York City, Utrecht, Netherlands and Portland, Oregon.

Dr Barnaby Dicker teaches at Cardiff School of Art and Design. His research revolves around conceptual and material innovations in and through graphic technologies and arts.

Becky James explores the intersection of the individual and social through animation. She has exhibited in galleries throughout the US and at film festivals including SXSW, Jihlava Documentary Festival, Filmfest Oldenburg, and IFF Rotterdam. A native New Yorker, James graduated from Harvard and received her MFA from Bard. She currently teaches at Parsons School of Design.

Carla MacKinnon is a filmmaker and practice-based PhD candidate at Arts University Bournemouth, whose moving image work has been exhibited widely. Carla has a Masters in Animation from Royal College of Art and has worked as a festival producer and manager of technology projects. She is also director of interdisciplinary events organization Rich Pickings.

Vincenzo Maselli is a PhD student in design at Sapienza University of Rome. His research aims to demonstrate how materials and puppets’ building techniques can communicate narrative meanings in stop motion animation cinema. In October 2016 he moved in London, where he is continuing his research at Middlesex University.

Sally Pearce studied philosophy at Cambridge, then became a nurse. She started making films while studying Fine Art at Sheffield Hallam, followed by an MA in Animation Direction at the NFTS. Her films have screened and been awarded at Festivals around the world. She hopes to start her PhD in October 2017.

Guli Silberstein is an Artist and video editor, based in London UK since 2010, born in Israel (1969). In 2000 he received his MA in Media Studies from The New School NYC, and since 2001, he creates work shown and winning awards in festivals and art venues in the UK and worldwide.

Susan Young is an animation director who has worked principally in advertising, commissioned films and music promos. Her current RCA research is based on personal experience of psychological trauma, and includes a series of short experimental films that explore how animation might ameliorate trauma symptoms. http://www.susanyounganimation.com/research.html


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Lecture Theatre 1

Royal College of Art

Jay Mews

London

SW7 2EU

United Kingdom

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