Future Cinema

Course Site for Future Cinema 1 (and sometimes Future Cinema 2: Applied Theory) at York University, Canada

Final Project – “Drawing On Motion”

My project has changed somewhat (in content) from the one I originally presented in class. The concept and process are still the same, but, instead of making a linear “music video”, I decided to head in the direction of my final thesis project, and create the first components of a picture book.

Here is a shorter version of my written proposal:

My project (and accompanying paper) will examine hybrids of hand-drawn animation and live action in digital cinema. It will explore their significance in approaching digital cinema from the perspective of traditional art, in preserving the “hand” of the artist in technologically-based media, and in approaching digital filmmaking as an animated canvas.
The project submitted for this course will include the initial component of what I hope will become my MA thesis (to be completed next year). “Drawing On Motion” is a hybrid Flash picture book, in which live-action or photographic images become animated, and interact with hand-drawn components. The experience of looking through this piece will be similar to exploring an artist’s gallery, where the various symbols and elements “come to life” to reveal more of the underlying narrative or intent.
The picture book’s pages are dedicated to various gods from ancient Greek mythology; each god will be related either to the theme of artistic expression (i.e. the three muses), or to the “myths” that guide my own work. The pages are also thematically linked, so that common symbols between the gods will serve as bridges between the two. In that regard, the picture book will be similar to CD-ROM journeys (like Chris Marker’s Immemory), although my project is focused on the visual aspects, and will not contain any text or sounds.
The images will consist primarily of my own flash-based hand drawings, but will also incorporate live-action characters (playing the gods), as well as some relevant photographic images hidden among the layers. Each page will be complete as a static image, but interacting with activated areas on the page will change or move some of the components. The “gods” can be animated at the click of a button, and they can interact with the drawings around them. For this course, I hope to finish four full plates (for four gods), complete with all the various levels of interaction, embedded animations and intricate hand drawings.

One of the theoretical influences on my paper is Lev Manovich’s work on digital cinema as “brush eye”, although, unlike Manovich, I do not embrace realistic 3D image manipulation as the natural extension of painting in the digital age. Instead, I focus on analyzing the significance of digital hand-drawn animation, and its relationship to the photorealistic image. I also explore the corporeal experience of creating digital animation, and ask: how is digital “hand drawn” animation different from digital live action, or 3D art? Moreover, is “hand drawn” animation (and the presence of the artist’s hand/sign) still possible in the digital age?

In addition to exploring my own experiences of creating this project, answering these questions involves examining animation theory as a continuum between mimesis and abstraction (drawing on seminal works by Maureen Fleiss and Paul Wells, among others). Animation theory and practice is becoming a significant component of digital cinema, and I believe that my project will make a contribution to this field.

Thu, February 22 2007 » Future Cinema, animation, assignments, proposals