Research Window

Thursday, 10 December | 9:30 | Bourbaki 2 | Estimated Duration: 230 minutes
Speakers: Suzanne Buchan, Franziska Trefzer, George Sifianos, Frank Gessner, Olia Lialina, Dragan Espenschied, Suzie Hanna


Does information on displays in public buses attract your attention? If so, how does it do that, and why? The LIAA Research Window investigates qualities and requirements of effective animation and the way storytelling is changing within new media environments.

Speakers and topics

Suzanne Buchan, London
Expanding Animation in Contemporary and Interdisciplinary Research Fields
Animation is increasingly infiltrating visual culture, occupying, informing and manipulating public and private spaces, digital realms and media platforms, and CG animation is generating a crisis in film studies as its object of study – celluloid – is replaced by the digital. Animation, much like the term ‹experimental film›, is an unsatisfying, fuzzy catch-all that throws an enormous and historically farreaching, artistically diverse body of work all
into one pot. Animation is also pervasive in other practices and disciplines, and while artists have been quick to embed the techniques, scholarship has lagged. Challenging assumptions of animation’s medium specificity is implicit here, and this is central to opening up discourses that centre on its use in fine art practice, in architecture or in the sciences. This talk focuses on critical and aesthetic dialogues from a growing numbers of scholars
working in the ‹manipulated moving image› and in interdisciplinary fields that intersect with animation.


Franzsika Trefzer, Basel
Thoughts on the subject of animation analysis
The search for an improvement of the critical language for the analysis of animation films takes us back to the Greek philosopher Aristotle. In his poetics and rhetoric, he offers a purely descriptive vocabulary that is suited to describing structures. When it comes to the close reading of an animation film, frame-by-frame analysis is not the solution; therefore we suggest the examination of larger entities. And since we are also in search of an animation-specific dramaturgy, we might as well have a look at rhetorical structures, including vocabulary, and discuss whether
this is a useful approach.


George Sifianos, Paris
Archaeology of animation?
Movement analysis, musical structure, and
dramaturgy in the Parthenon frieze. This presentation will present my contention that the ancient Greek sculptor Phidias was probably the first known animator! I will discuss how movement analysis of the Parthenon frieze is used as a structural element of the composition; how the movement conveys a philosophical stance; how the form of the composition is organised as a symphonic sheet music, and how the dramaturgy is organised in different levels – from the anecdotal representation of characters and actions, to the structural representation of the principles of Athenian society.


Frank Gessner, Berlin
Expanded Animation - ‹Teste sans fin›
The art project ‹Teste sans fin› (Work in Progress) makes use of 19th century pre-cinema panorama painting to develop the synthetic biography of a fictional successful painter from the turn of the 20th into the 21st century – in 48 meters of painting and based on a large, multimedia studio archive. Paul Yederbeck is the central ‹alias› figure of this many-layered portrait of an artist. Digitally transformed by a team, it is narrated nonlinearly in 12 audiovisual sequences. It thereby explores the specific site of the postmodern artist in the operating system of current media culture. 12 episodes from the cosmos of the star painter Paul Yederbeck who died in 2001 gradually arrange themselves as a novellike overall image and, in various kinds of images, sounds, music, and texts, develop an ingenious play between reality and fiction: 12 hybrid expanded animation stories and an artist video as ‹Bonus material› about fame and disappearance, truth, lies, and deceit.


Olia Lialina and Dragan Espenschied, Stuttgart
Mini-dramaturg: Animated GIF
The online life of a contemporary user is full of diverse attractions, and yet it follows very strict standards – it is disciplined and formalised.
There is a particular service offered for every format a user may want to share with the world, a community for every interest, a network for every social group. And there is something for animated GIF makers, too – there are glitter graphics generators and collections of ready-made graphics. Glittering, but static, animations are a trademark of today’s amateur aesthetics. These mostly automatically generated graphics replaced the
1990’s tradition to create and share tiny animations that could become building blocks for many pages.


Suzie Hanna, Norwich
Encounters 1001 and 2: the collaborative creation of animated online micro-dramas
Suzie Hanna, Norwich University College of
the Arts, Norwich and Rene Bosma, Akademie St Joost, Breda led two online animation student collaborations – Encounters 1001 (2007) and Encounters 2 (2009) that resulted in 36 animated micro-dramas, 30 seconds to two minutes long. The projects were delivered simultaneously
in both institutions – students engaged in a rapid exchange of ideas and information using blogs, Skype and file transfers. Characters were first ‹speed-dated› to create pairs, then the potential for their dramatic encounter was investigated, argued, tested and resolved through brainstorming, developing environments and scenarios, storyboarding, and then animation and sound design. Although the scale of dramatic action was limited by the miniature form and exacerbated by time scale and collaborators’ physical distance, many of the micro-dramas successfully compressed scenarios referencing longer forms and reflecting or subverting classic scenarios. The presentation uses exemplars to
reveal and compare dramaturgical strategies and outcomes.