Blog Post #3
March 11th, 2019
The project Animating Nature: The Art of the Moving Image from Conservation to Climate Change has been moving along. We are currently in the process of compiling research and corresponding summaries while curating my report. We have maintained a close communication as Professor Williamson aids in organization and creating timelines. However, as the semester goes on and work builds, research halts at times. We have teamed up to collaborate on work of Professor Williamson’s own that ties directly into this research allowing for me to gain access and experience. A challenge is staying on task. While our research has little precedent, I find myself traveling down roads that venture too far from our point. I am looking forward to finally culminating this research into something that I am proud of and will be an effective resource. I have not yet met with Rivkin, however, intend to do so in April.
The project Animating Nature: The Art of the Moving Image from Conservation to Climate Change has taken form quite nicely. We have developed a strong foundation for the research before diving into a more physical manifestation of our findings. Our Meta picture is the relationship between animation and realism. The big picture idea is to discover the specifically digital animations relationship to documentary, truth, authenticity, and evidence. To get even more focused, I will specifically be looking at the nature documentary and how does animation play a role in delivering the truth of our natural world by over-sensationalizing naturally occurring events. I will be doing this by looking at a specific clip taken from a BBC nature documentary that has a digitally contrived time-lapse sequence. Questions such as the artistic role of documentary filmmaking and what the influence animation has on its prevalence. Does animation, in fact, bring more focus and interest of the audience to our natural world or is it deceptive. The function of uncanniness is perhaps to capture the audience and perhaps generations, but when they come outside and realize that the dramatic outside world is not as spontaneous as they were told, what will be their reaction.
I will be meeting with creator and animator Jacob Rivkin to discuss the field of animation and for counseling on creating my own animation. Rivkin is a fellow at the University of Pennsylvania and we are to meet in January. The Research we have been conducting is has expanded and we are now more focused on analyzing texts pertaining to nature documentaries. I have compiled in-depth summaries of all the texts that I have read and will be using them for my notes when producing my research paper. Professor Williamson and I have been meeting weekly to discuss our project and will be meeting over the break in January to go to Philadelphia and meet Mr. Rivkin.
Blog Post #1
The title of our research is Animating Nature: The Art of the Moving Image from Conservation to Climate Change.
We are taking a look at the animated form and the role it plays in documentary film-making. By using climate change as a vehicle I will be creating a short animated documentary on subjects pertaining to climate change as a physical manifestation of the research conducted, I am currently shopping around the idea of focusing on a local conservation effort “The Billion Oyster Project.”
Despite being one of the earliest forms of documentary film-making, the animated nonfiction film is little understood and relatively marginalized in the discipline. Scholars like Paul Ward and Annabelle Honess Roe have recently been examining how animation allows for different kinds of engagement with “truth” and “reality” than live-action film-making does, but the roles of art and aesthetics, the “proper” domain of animation, remain under-theorized and under-historicized. The broad goal of this project is to establish a historical and theoretical foundation for understanding what the artistic potential of the animated form affords in the context of documenting reality in the cinema. Doing this will involve compiling a body of relevant scholarship drawn from multiple disciplines—namely, film studies, animation studies, philosophy, and art history—and generating a series of guiding questions aimed at advancing the rigorous interdisciplinary study of the field.
The goal of this research will be creating a body of work that is substantial and noteworthy. This will culminate in content that I will submit when applying to graduate programs as well as provide Professor Williamson’s larger book project a clearer theoretical framework that will be used for drafting a book proposal during the 2018-19 academic year.