Jan 30, 2011

MoMA NY, Drawing and Animation

On Line: Drawing and Film

January 12–February 6, 2011

In conjunction with the exhibition On Line: Drawing Through the Twentieth Century

On Line: Drawing and Film, held in conjunction with the gallery exhibition On Line: Drawing Through the Twentieth Century, presents films from MoMA’s collection by artists whose work redefines the very parameters of drawing through an investigation of the line, both static and kinetic.

The intersection between the world and the line, both as a visual element and a rich metaphor for life, can be found in numerous films, from the dawn of cinema in the late 19th century to the present. Early animation—a film technique that springs directly from the medium of drawing—succeeded in the activation of the drawn line, as in Winsor McKay’s Gertie, the Dinosaur (1914). Despite subsequent technical advances, many artists have chosen to continue to reveal the connection between drawing and film; they paint, scratch, and manipulate the physical material of film to create abstract lines and patterns, which sometimes stand alone as moving drawings. In other films, these drawn lines are forced into the cinematic world created by the filmmaker, as an active backdrop for artistic intervention. Then there are films in which the line functions symbolically, referring to the various trajectories of the world at large through spiritual and physical travel, such as Bill Morrison’s Night Highway (1990). The passage of time, the marks left in our landscape, and lines drawn to both join and separate us from each other simultaneously provoke fascination and repulsion, as in A Season Outside (1998) by Amar Kanwar. The manipulation of line as cinematic subject was often inspired by the movement of the body, as in Circles I (1971)—a dance film by Doris Chase—and the syncopated, choreographed abstract imagery of Mary Ellen Bute’s Tarantella (1940). Contemporaneously, the transformation of the line (or a crossing of multiple lines to form a grid) injects the limits of the exterior world into the interior of the work of art. The first wave of computer generated films, especially those made at the Bell Telephone Laboratories in Murray Hill, New Jersey, in the early 1960s—such as Computer Generated Ballet (c.1965) by researcher A. Michael Noll—explores the subject of “dancers” on a computer grid.

This exhibition includes films by Yann Beauvais (French, b. 1953), Stan Brakhage (American, 1933–2003), Robert Breer (American, b. 1926), Mary Ellen Bute (American, 1906–1983), Doris Chase (American, 1923–2008), Jim Capobianco (American, b. 1969), Walt Disney (American, 1901–1966), Ed Emshwiller (American, 1925–1990), valie export (Austrian, b. 1940), Harun Farocki (German, b. Czechoslovakia 1944), Emily Hubley (American, b. 1958), Amar Kanwar (Indian, b. 1964), Bernard Longpre (Canadian, 1937–2002), Len Lye (New Zealander, 1901–1980), Norman McLaren (Canadian, b. Scotland 1914–1987), Bill Morrison (American, b. 1965), David Piel (American, 1926–2004), Yvonne Rainer (American, b. 1934), Randy Rotheisler (Canadian, b. 1953), Carolee Schneemann (American, b. 1939), Zdenek Smetana (Czech, b. 1925), Stuart Sherman (American, 1945–2001), Alia Syed (British, b. 1964), and Steven Yazzie (American, b. 1970).

Organized by Anne Morra, Associate Curator, Department of Film, and Esther Adler, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Drawings.

Jan 26, 2011

The Automatic Moving Company: An Exploration of Anthropomorphism

While watching The Automatic Moving Company, an animation by Émile Cohl circa 1910, I was immediately reminded of the anthropomorphism found in contemporary artists' work such as Peter Fischli's and David Weiss' The Way Things Go. The main connection was Cohl's utilization of anthropomorphism as a means of creating relationships between the chairs, tables, stools and varied furnishings. The whimsy and fantastical tendencies of this animation are only enhanced by the discovery that these objects are all miniatures of a real world where they would be characterized not by their ability to move, but to be still and stagnant--existing within the banal and mundane. It is because these delightful furnishings have character that we watch and are intrigued, despite that in our lives they exist as static structures that we rarely give a second thought.

|| Post by: Stephanie Clark ||

Eye Touch: Hand Held Entertainment

The animated image has had an expansive progression that continues to ride the current of technology. With all of its advancements it remains eerily similar to its distant counterparts the Magic Lantern.

Its interesting to note that the device that enables the luxury of animation has had an equally steady evolution. The animation itself separated from the device with the advancements of projection leaving the poor device to begin to be unseen and hidden. However these early animation devices where hand held.

A source of portable entertainment that was to be handled is an aesthetic challenge that circumnavigated itself with a wave of technologic breakthroughs. Its strange to think of the ancestral origins of the current human fascination with handheld media and technologies.

( > @* . *@)> Tim

Max Hattler:: Graphics-/-Animation Media Artist

a/v: '/\/\/\' (by Max Hattler + Noriko Okaku) from Max Hattler on Vimeo.

Fredrikstad Animation Festival-commissioned live animation performance feat. a soundtrack by Rich Keyworth. Premiered at Fredrikstad Animation Festival, Norway, 12 Nov 2009.

Aanaatt - Teaser (by Max Hattler) from Max Hattler on Vimeo.

"Max Hattler turns his talents for abstract animation to stop motion and comes up with this intriguing exercise in upside-down random geometry for Japanese electronica artist Jemapur thru W+K Tokyo Lab." FEED (Stash)


||post by Lorelei||

Jan 25, 2011

Emile Reynaud, and the First Motion Picture

Scene from 'Pauvre Pierrot'

When you first hear the words “Early Cartoon” the first thing that may come to mind might be a fluent, black and white, slapstick, comical animation. But in the beginning, before Bugs Bunny, Merry Melodies, or even Mickey Mouse, the word “Animation” revolved around a single device, Le Théatre Optique.  Devised by French inventor, and showman, Emile Reynaud, Le Théatre Optique was an update of his earlier invention, the Praxinoscope, which was an early motion animation device. Le Théatre Optique, like the Praxinoscope, had mirrors in the center, and would reflect the images of cartoon characters in a specific motion to create the illusion of movement. But instead of the images being on a wheel, like the Praxinoscope, the images were painted on spools of transparent film, which would be slid in front of the mirrors, giving the animation the ability to show a whole array of positions and movements instead of just one cycle (like the Praxinoscope could only show). At the same time there were a series of extra mirrors and Magic Lanterns (early projectors) placed throughout the device. After shining a light through the film, the image would be reflected off a series of mirrors and then be projected on to a screen. The end result would be a short, slightly choppy, motion picture. This machine was patented in 1888, and was revealed to the public in 1892, where Reynaud unveiled the first animated shorts ever to be seen by average people. The first of these motion pictures was ‘Pauvre Pierrot’, a five minute short portraying a Lady, with two lovers in competition with each other to win her heart. The motion picture was accompanied by piano music by composer Gaston Paulin, and poster artist, Jules Cheret, painted the images in the film. The presentation officially closed on March 1, 1894, and reopened in January 1, 1895 where new motion pictures were shown and thus continued to amaze the audience. 

My source was http://www.victorian-cinema.net/reynaud.htm

Image was from http://www.montrealmirror.com


Emile Cohl - The Hasher's Delirium (1910)

When I first watched this short animation I believed that it was a piece of propaganda against the dangers of wine and absinthe. Although, the man who appears to be in a middle of some sort of dissociative dream state seems to be enjoying the occasionally grotesque images. These images can represent some of the more base aspects of being drunk. The quick and simple morphs are charming where words like wine and absinthe transform into the objects that are associated with their creation. Wine to a bunch of grapes and absinthe to a worm for wormwood. The film ends when the man is ripped from his own stupor into reality. Where his own body tells him that he has had too much to drink in a slap stick manner. After a serious bender one does feel like they have been beat up. I'm still waffling on whether this is a pro recreational use of libations or a cautionary tale. Still it is entertaining and it is amazing that 100 years later anyone can view this short in the comfort of home.

Jan 24, 2011

Little Nemo

Winsor McCay's comic about a young boy named Nemo was introduced in 1905. The original title was Little Nemo in Slumberland, but was changed later to In the Land of Wonderful Dreams, when it was picked up by a different newspaper.
The story followed the adventures of Nemo in the dream world of Slumberland. Often Nemo would find himself in dangerous and even life threatening situations, but always woke up in his bed before anything should happen to him.
McCay, along with James Stuart Blackton, created a short animation based on the comic strip in 1911. Later, in 1989, director Masami and Masanori Hata, along with William T. Hurtz, made a feature animated film loosely based on McCay's comics. The film was first released in Japan in 1989. Then in the US in 1992. The film was not well received by viewers and considered a box office flop, despite getting positive reviews from several papers. The film is beautifully done and has a wonderful storyline. I highly recommend it.


Jan 23, 2011

What's a kineograph??

Turns out flip books are nothing new. In fact, the flip book much as we know it today appeared in 1868. An English lithograph printer, named John Barnes Linnett, registered a patent for his invention under the name kineograph ("moving picture"). In German, the flip book is known by the name "Daumenkino," which translates to "thumb cinema," which describes the flip book's use rather well. The many pictures, flipped quickly, relies on the persistence of vision, to create the illusion of an ongoing scene. Plateau had pioneered this ground earlier when he developed the phenakistoscope, a predecessor of the flip book, in 1830. However, the flip book marks a significant milestone in the development of animation in making it more accessible and handy (no pun intended).

--post by Erik

more thoughts on McCay

I watched a few of McCay's cartoons again to day. I can just imagine how they must have amazed audiences back then. After taking Animation 1 I can appreciate what went into them. The way he got figures to turn and tails to switch so smoothly. He must have studied creatures large and tiny to get the movement so accurately. People must have been blown away to see those lines come to life on the screen.

Post by Luke

Jan 22, 2011

INSTALLATION: Chiho Aoshima: City Glow

Courtesy of the artist and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles. © 2005 Chiho Aoshima/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All rights reserved.

Museum of Moving Images, Queens, NY

City Glow was made by Japanese artist Chiho Aoshima in collaboration with New Zealand-based animator Bruce Ferguson. Using a pictorial style derived from traditional and pop sources (Japanese scroll paintings, manga, and anime), City Glow contains a cyclical narrative, which begins with the dawn of a paradisaical garden. Living skyscrapers sprout during the day, only to be overgrown at night by a landscape filled with ghosts and fairies. Chiho Aoshima, born in 1974 in Tokyo, is a member of Takashi Murakami’s Kaikai Kiki Collective. (text via the Museum of Moving Images)


DATE: January 15-April 10
35 Avenue at 37 Street
Astoria, NY 11106
718 777 6888
Tue-Thu: 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Fri: 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Sat-Sun: 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Mon: Closed

EXHIBITION: Dolls Vs Dictators

The Museum of the Moving Image, located in Queens NY, asked animation filmmaker Martha Colburn to come in to the Museum and create an "animation film response" to their eclectic collection of historical works and artifacts. Colburn's high energy collage / cut-out film style should work particularly well with such a great variety of imagery.

Colburn elected to make a film using the photographs of the Museum’s collection of dolls, toys, and miscellanea. The film, Dolls vs. Dictators, is projected continuously in the Video Screening Amphitheater at the Museum. Eight tableaus each corresponding to a scene in the film, are also exhibited.

Martha Colburn is a filmmaker, animator, and multimedia artist who employs a variety of techniques, including puppetry, collage, and paint-on-glass. Many of her works address American history and its relationship to contemporary foreign and domestic policy. Colburn has also directed numerous music videos and has taught workshops on her animation techniques throughout the world. " (quote via the Museum of Moving Image website)


DATE: January 15-April 10
35 Avenue at 37 Street
Astoria, NY 11106
718 777 6888
Tue-Thu: 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Fri: 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Sat-Sun: 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Mon: Closed

Jan 20, 2011

Windsor McCay

Image Source
Research from: http://www.vegalleries.com/winsorbio.html

One person from class today that I found particularly interesting was Windsor McCay. In doing some research on him I found out that his father had originally intended for him to be a business man, and that is what he went to college for. He always loved drawing, though, and secretly worked a s a portrait artist in a "dime museum"(where audiences could enjoy skits and acts of all sorts) on the side. Upon leaving school, he got a job at the National Printing Company of Chicago, where he created promotional posters. After creating a variety of posters and ads, and working as a billboard painter, he moved on to create a few very successful comic strips for papers such as the New York Herald and the Cincinatti Commercial Tribune. It was here that he began his real career as a cartoonist. He went on to create multiple successful films and strips until he died in 1934 due to a stroke.

Post By Luke

Jan 17, 2011

Visiting Artist: Brian Knep

The SMFA Film-Animation Area will be hosting Boston-based artist Brian Knep to present and discuss his work in the field of new media interactive installations. His work bridges the flow of science, biology and art, and is strongly attuned to the role of the human being as it's viewer and user. His subjects frequently fall into the category of microscopic living organisms, and his work is investigating their relationships to each other and the forces of change and struggle that are imposed upon them. Written into the code of these microorganisms' progress and change are most frequently the potential methods of healing. It is how these organisms deal with this struggle that most fascinates Knep, and marks a clear point of focus for the development of his works.

Brian frequently uses abstraction and most recently, cartooned drawings to render visible the presence of these imagined organisms. Animation is an essential aspect of the "life" that is expressed by these imaginary creatures and forms, even though it is animation derived from computer generated code.

Brian has had solo shows at the New Britain Museum of American Art, the University of Massachusetts, Lowell and Arizona State University and has been part of group shows at the Milwaukee Art Museum, Laval Virtual in France, MobileArt in Sweden, and the Insa Art Center in Korea, among others. His works have won awards from Ars Electronica, Americans for the Arts, AICA/New England and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. In 2005 Knep became the first artist-in-residence at Harvard Medical School in a program co-sponsored by Harvard's Office for the Arts. He lives and works in Boston and is represented by Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, NY and Judi Rotenberg Gallery, Boston.

  • Visiting Artist: Brian Knep
  • Time/Date: Thursday, Jan 27th, 12:30pm-2pm
  • Location: Studio B113, Animation Studio, SMFA Main Bldg
  • All SMFA related people are invited to attend.

Nina Brings the Toons

It's not for a while yet, but why not plop this event right into your calendar now so you don't forget. Nina will be there to speak about the film and her experiences in the production and distribution, which are verrrrry interesting.


Screening of the film and a conversation with filmmaker Nina Paley.

Time/Date: April 4, 2011, 6pm
Location: SMG Auditorium; 595 Commonwealth Ave., first floor auditorium, Boston, MA, 02215 MAP

Boston University's Program for Scripture and the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, Distinguished Teaching Professorship welcome filmaker Nina Paley to Boston University. On April 4 we will present a showing of the groundbreaking animated film Sita Sings the Blues, followed by a conversation with the filmmaker.

Sita Sings the Blues was written, directed, produced and animated by American artist Paley, and weaves an autobiographical story with events from the Hindu scriptural text the Ramayana. The feature length film uses music, shadow puppets and novel animation techniques to re-imagine the artist's experience through the lens of the god Rama's wife, Sita.

Tough Love, Anime Style

Anime creator and director Yoshiyuki Tomino responds on Global Voices Online to a query by an 11th grader who is an aspiring illustrator. Miyuri wants to know if Yoshiyuki has any advice for how to become a professional illustrator, and he does: Quit this dream and go be an office lady. Here's an excerpt:
... If after reading this you find yourself saying "but I still want to do it," that isn't desire. You need to know IN YOUR BONES that you are willing to STRUGGLE to do this, that you're willing to starve before taking another kind of job. Desire alone isn't enough for a job that requires you to have the facility in a wide range of styles to draw hundreds of illustrations of a certain quality within a certain timeframe. As a freelancer there's the fear of never knowing when the next job is coming in, meaning you have to put your all into whatever comes your way, meaning you don't have any real control over what you're working on. You can always take a job at a studio, but only those with the drive and physical strength to do the same thing in the same place over and over again for a decade or more on end can make it there. This is why I'm telling you you're better off going to school and becoming an office lady.

It's an interesting and provocative post, and the full translation can be found here via Matt Alt's blog.

Jan 7, 2011

Identity Element: Works from the New Axiom Group

THIS IS a local gallery exhibition of note for anyone interested in integrating animation into their work through inter-disciplinary means.

(the following taken from the axiom website)

Opening Reception: Friday, January 14th, 6-9 pm

Axiom celebrates recent organizational and structural shifts by kicking off 2011 with Identity Element: Works from the New Axiom Group. The first exhibition organized by the new Axiom group, it showcases Axiom’s new identity while maintaining its presence as an arts organization supporting innovative and experimental approaches to art-making.

Identity Element features the diversity of medium, process, and theoretical content present in the creative practices of the Axiom Group members. Derived from a mathematical concept, the title denotes a neutral part in the context of a group, playing with the idea that the identity, voice and vision of Axiom spring directly from the people involved.

The show features work by eleven artists in the new group and one outside artist curated by a group member. The artists’ backgrounds range from art history to traditional painting and sculpture to computer science. Building on their skills and interests, the artists work in animation, video, installation, design, sculpture, photography and hypermedia. Subject matter in the show ranges from conceptualization of the individual body in space to an exploration of free resources in the Boston area, from public access databases to collective unconscious memory.

During exhibitions
Wed 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Thurs 6:00 - 9:00 pm
Sat 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm
and by appointment

AXIOM is located at the corner of Green and Armory Streets in Jamaica Plain, MA. The gallery is on the ground floor level of the Green Street train stop on the Orange line. 141 Green St. Jamaica Plain, MA 02130