October 15, 2007

We made it through the midterm (in the intro course) and now we are moving into the second half of our semester where we will focus our attention across the broad landscape of time based media (any thing that moves). let’s begin by considering etienne marey and eadweard muybridge. these two pioneering photographers tracked objects in motion as a research practice of data visualization. in many ways, our artistic and cultural notions of time, motion and sequence owe a debt to this early research. artists in the last century seized the opportunity to work with time-based media and such efforts have in part laid the foundation for contemporary digital media arts.

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this week we will consider animation as one of our themes in time, motion, sequence and hyperlink (network?). future topics will include video art, video games, performance art, net art, sound art, and tactical media. animation has always existed at the margins of the worlds of art and cinema. christiane paul (the author of our text) writes that “animation is one of the genres that most resists classification. it has continuously merged disciplines and techniques and still exists at the border of the entertainment industry and the art world. exactly how far animation can and should be considered an art form remains a topic of debate, but it is certainly now more frequently incorporated in exhibitions” (110). today we will look at one of contemporary art’s best animators-william kentridge. since we make a concerted effort in our class to consider the notion of digital media both inside and outside the world of art, careful thought should be given to animation’s current ubiquitousness in contemporary digital culture. in one sense, everything animates today-from flash players on the net to the lcd display on your car stereo or mp3 player, animation is a fundamental component of interface, which itself is inextricably linked to current digital networks. we could ask c. paul the question, “is animation really at the fringe of anything?” your thoughts on animation are appreciated in this course. one thing is certain, animation is a language that we all speak. a good example would be the animation “hope” for the nelson mandela foundation by alfredo jaar.

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i’m not an animator, but i’ve started a collection of links to various resources for students who are interested in animation. one good option for simple animation technique is the open source application pixen.

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