Watch and Listen! Animated audiovisual language stimulation in kindergarten.
Abstract: This is the title of a new research project financed by the Norwegian Research Council’s VRI-programme. Its aim is to stimulate the development of regional cultural industries in close collaborations with universities and other research institutions.
The main goal of the research project is to find out how small films and animations can be used to stimulate kindergarten children and teachers to use/learn New Norwegian, the minority written language in Norway used by app. 20% of the total population. The project started in November 2008 but we have already started the production of small animations. At the SAS conference I would like to present the work we have done by July 2009.
Biographical Statement: Gunnar Strøm (born 1955), Associate Professor at Volda University College, Norway, has published books and articles on animation, documentaries and music videos. He is a former Secretary General and Vice President of ASIFA International. In addition, he has programmed and served on juries for film festivals worldwide.
Illustrated Songs and Song Car-Tunes: Cultural Practices and Sound Technology in Early Talkie Animated Films
Abstract: This paper examines early Fleischer animated sound cartoons in the context of relations between cinema and other cultural practices. These Song-Car-Tunes encouraged audience participation through singing along with “the bouncing ball” and drawing conventions of vaudeville and early cinema exhibition, particularly in their adaptation of the pre-cinematic “song slides” or “illustrated songs.” Although they predated cinema, “illustrated songs” were the primary sound-and-image experience of the nickelodeon era. With standardization of musical accompaniment for films by the early teens, “illustrated songs” became obsolete. This paper proposes that in order to reconcile new technology with traditional exhibition practices, the Fleischer Song Car-Tunes adapted these earlier models of exhibition and reception to the new sound processes, through strategies drawing both on ironic and nostalgic re-workings of past conventions.
Biographical Statement: Mark Langer teaches Film Studies at Carleton University. He is author of The Fleischer Project, forthcoming from University of California Press, and has curated numerous Fleischer programs at venues such as The Museum of Modern Art, Il Giornate del Cinema Muto, the Cinematheque Francaise and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. His essays have been published by Cinema Journal, Film History, Animation History, Screen and others.
The Secret of Kells: Ireland’s European Identity in Feature Animation
Abstract: The release of Brendan and the Secret of Kells marks a significant moment in the development of Irish animation. By placing it in its historical context, and considering the aesthetic results of its cooperative production processes, this paper shall investigate the effects of such processes on representations of Irishness in animation. Finally it will also question if these representations of identity can be read as being simultaneously Irish and European, thereby forming an effective cinema of resistance to dominant commercial, Anglophonic forms, or if an authorial approach drawn from multi-national sources ultimately dissolves into a non-specified and empty cinema of distraction and spectacle.
Biographical Statement: Thomas Walsh has a Diploma in Animation Production from Ballyfermot Senior College and a PhD from Loughborough. Previously, he worked as a special effects artist for Screen Animation Ireland and Walt Disney Feature Animation. He contributed an article on special effects animation to Paul Wells’ book Fundamentals of Animation and has given papers at the “Borders and Borderlands in Contemporary Culture” conference at Dundalk Institute of Technology, “Ireland and the Atlantic: Intercultural Contact and Conflict” conference (National University of Ireland), EFACIS International conference (Gothenburg University), John Grace Memorial Conference (Nottingham) and Popular Culture Association Conference (San Francisco). He is currently a Senior Lecturer on the BA (Hons) Animation degree course at the Arts Institute at Bournemouth in the UK.
Pens and Pencils: Baroque Poetics and Silent Animation
Abstract: This paper stages the relevance of the pen of the baroque poet to the transmuting pencils, chalks and inks of the early silent animators (Émile Cohl, Winsor McCay, Otto Messmer). The conceptual and spatial mobility of baroque poetics is reprised by early animation in terms of its energetic and unfolding transformations. The artifice of baroque poetics is a productive framework by which to approach early animation, as is its desire for contact with the participant, which can be extended to the sensual privileging of texture, surface, rhythm and line in silent animation.
Biographical Statement: My research agenda pursues media archaeology to re-invigorate the sensuous scholarship of film, media and animation. This paper builds upon my dissertation, Cinema’s Baroque Flesh, which was concerned with baroque experiences of art and film. My work appears in The Contemporary Comic Book Superhero (2008), Playing with Memory: The Films of Guy Maddin (forthcoming), Lounge Critic: The Couch Theorist’s Companion (2004), Senses of Cinema, Screening the Past, ARTLINK and Metro. I teach in Screen Studies at Melbourne University and I am an Assistant Curator with ACMI, where I am collaborating on a new permanent exhibition dedicated to the moving image.
Portrayals of Class Mobility in The Simpsons
Abstract: As with most prime time animation, class is a recurring theme in The Simpsons. Its popularity and volume of episodes provide an ample case study. The Simpsons portrays a stereotypical American working class family, and presents themes of class mobility. Using a selection of episodes, this paper aims to explore the real world realities of this theme.
The ramifications that result from the show’s representations are discussed, including interviews engaging the group the show allegedly depicts. This investigation includes how audiences interpret the portrayals, and how it influences their views of class. In the current economic crisis, the idea of class mobility continues to play an important role in how the show reflects American society.
Biographical Statement: Harrison Stark is a graduate student at the Savannah College of Art and Design. He is working towards his MFA in animation. Harrison attained a Bachelor’s of Science in Telecommunications from Ohio University with a minor in Music.
Where is Ananse — Issues in African [Cinema] Animation
Abstract: In Africa, it is not uncommon to see such Disney characters gracing commemorative stamps. Indeed Disney’s philatelic dominance there is more pervasive than most of us would want to believe. Indeed, animation has been a part of the psyche of post-colonial Africa for the last three decades, with training having also been offered during that period. But the question is, where are the cinematic reflections of this craft? I shall discuss the forces that determine the tenor of creativity in this field, arguing that the same cultural denominators which make animation popular, have paradoxically worked against it, forcing indigenous productions to exude aesthetics of incompleteness; and thus compelling such work to thrive mainly within the workshop “ghetto.”
Biographical Statement: Charles daCosta is an Animation History and Media Theory professor at SCAD. He acquired his PhD at the University for the Creative Arts, Farnham UK, and also Previously he taught at the University of Westminster, Kingston University, University for the Creative Arts and Morley College, as well as the London center of Samford University, Birmingham, Alabama. daCosta served as New Media Manager at the University of Reading, UK, was a project manager for the European Commission’s MEDIA initiative, a freelance photographer for COMPIX (the Commonwealth Institute’s picture library) a cameraman/photographer for UNESCO’s Mission Antarctica South Pole expedition. He has also contributed to several educational animation projects in Europe, Africa and North America.
Wars, Submarines, Walruses and Strawberries: A Critical and Historical Approach to Motion Design as Animation
Abstract: One of the current tendencies in the theory and practice of motion graphics is the lack of critical and historical approaches to the field. This paper will offer a case study for understanding motion design. Case studies considered are I Met the Walrus (2007), the psychedelic odyssey Yellow Submarine (1968) and the animated sequence ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ from Across the Universe (2007). Particular emphasis will be placed on the social conditions of production, and consumption of the animations. The context of counter culture in the late 1960s, the Vietnam War and the current “war on terror” are obvious starting points for understanding this cluster of animations.
Biographical Statement: Alessandro is a digital media artist and theorist in art history, visual culture and media theory. He is a professor of Broadcast Design, Motion Graphics and Media Theory at the Savannah College of Art and Design. His work can be viewed at: www.alessandroimperato.com.
Double Take: Rotoscoping and the Processing of Performance
Abstract: In 1915 the Fleischer brothers developed a “rotoscope” which allowed the artist to trace over the original film footage to make more life-like drawings. Rotoscoping’s digital descendent, “Rotoshop” was used to style Richard Linklater’s animations Waking Life and A Scanner Darkly, but whilst rotoscoping may originally have been developed to help animators achieve greater realism, it has never just been about verisimilitude. The paper will consider two questions: What have been the consequences of this digital animation technique for screen performance, and what spectatorial pleasures does this means of storytelling afford its audience?
Biographical Statement: Kim Louise Walden teaches digital culture and discourse in the School of Film, Music and Media, in the Faculty for the Creative and Cultural Industries at the University of Hertfordshire, UK. Currently her research interests revolve around the impact of new media on film. To date, she has presented conference papers and published articles addressing the following areas: the impact of computer games on cinema’s action heroines; the changing narrative habitats of film examining film web sites; the first generation of films made for mobile phones and most recently the consequences of digital technologies in animation for screen performance.
Contexts for Caricaturing: the spectrum of expressing
Abstract: What guarantees that an animated expression will be “read” correctly? What standards about the degrees of caricature guide both the animator and audience? This paper explores conventions from caricature and animated films: 19th-Cenury “big-head” portrait charge cartoons; the near-faceless doll heads of puppet animation; the Disney standards; the simplified heads of independent animators; the steady evolution of CGI “heads.”
As context, I will review systems of facial depiction: facial recognition software; nonverbal signage; symbols for autistic education; a training manual for carnival caricaturists; and the homunculus, which visually registers sensory and emotional extremes.
I propose to survey these possible ranges for both minimal and “over-cooked” expressive caricature, hoping to discover universal principles across animators and traditions.
Biographical Statement: Since 1979, I have been a Professor in Liberal Arts at Minneapolis College of Art and Design, teaching animation history and analysis, film history, writing, media analysis, history of jazz, and ethics and aesthetics. From 1978 to 1999, I was also a freelance writer and critic, primarily for City Pages alternative weekly, where I interviewed, among others, Chuck Jones, Robert Breer, Osamu Tezuka, Paul Fierlinger, Andreas Deja, Glen Keane, Bill Plympton, and Sally Cruikshank. I am especially interested in cross-pollinations of media, arts and cultures — in keeping animation understood within the wider contexts of other art forms or historical developments.
Vocalising the Image
Abstract: This paper reflects on the initial voicing of animation’s small worlds both within the framework of its early development and explores the new contexts that technological advances brings to the discourse of sound, vision and the political potential of the auditory. The discussion surveys the vocalising of animation and suggests the potential for exposing the sonic elements of the form to evaluation using means beyond accepted film sound theory. The paper also examines the centrality of the voice in the commercially orientated animated film and forms comparisons with other independent vocalisations of sound in animation outside of the mainstream.
Biographical Statement: I have a background in music, sculpture and animation. My research interests are centred on the sound to image conjunction in the animated form and the exposure of that relationship to exploration and location into my own practice and teaching of animation. The proposed paper will allow further exploration of the function of sound with special regard to the voicing of the form across comparative animated texts. It will permit a deepening of the historiographical contexts of sound whilst informing my own research inquiry, which aims to evolve new understanding of the sonic and visual in animation.
Currently engaged in PhD study at Loughborough University, I am also course leader in Animation at The School of Art and Design at the University of Wolverhampton.