For the 2013 Society for Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS) conference, I organized a panel devoted to the technique of generating movement in animation. It seems obvious that animation is particularly preoccupied with creating movement, and that animators develop different techniques (or strategies) to “make things move.” But what kinds of movement are chosen or emphasized in the animation process? And how do different kinds of filmmaking techniques influence the range and qualities of movement that are animated on the screen? The panel included four talks that considered the role of mechanical and electronic models movement in the history of animation, focusing on case studies that spanned early film, classical drawn animation, and early computer animation traditions. That talk was later published as an article.
The 2013 Society of Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS) annual conference took place in Chicago, and as an active member of the society’s Animated-Media Special Interest Group, I volunteered to organize our group’s annual conference event. The result was a wonderful night of watching and talking about experimental animated films — some familiar and beloved, others less-known but equally remarkable. Continue reading “Film Screening: “Defining Experimental Animation” (16mm film)”
As a writing genre, the academic cover letter is surrounded by too much mystery, and it elicits unmerited levels of anxiety. Since we’re talking about academic writing in general, that’s saying something. As part of my fellowship at Northwestern University’s Graduate Writing Place, I developed a professionalization workshop on the dreaded “job letter,” geared specifically toward students in my department of media studies. Continue reading “Workshop: “Writing the Academic Cover Letter””
The foundation course “Analyzing Media Texts” at Northwestern University’s School of Continuing Studies was my first time working with returning and mature students, and it was very rewarding to have a classroom with such a range of life experiences and an open-minded approach to the diverse films we watched. My personal highlight was our field trip, which took place during the week we studied documentary cinema. I’ve never tried to do a field trip for a film analysis class before. We watched Chasing Ice at the Music Box theatre, with the additional challenge of taking notes during a public screening. Then we went to a cafe to talk about how the film used formal techniques to show the long-term impact of climate change.
Image above is from Chasing Ice (2012), directed by Jeff Orlowski
I first developed and ran the workshop “Writing about Audiovisual and Ephemeral Objects” for graduate students at Northwestern University in 2012. The workshop focused on strategies that scholars can use in note-taking, describing, and writing about objects that are often inaccessible after one viewing. We also looked at different ways of making ephemeral objects come alive in the mind of the reader, who may never get a chance to see them at all. Continue reading “Workshop: Writing about Audiovisual and Ephemeral Objects”
September 12, 2012 was my last day of research at the Len Lye Archive, maintained by the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery in New Plymouth, New Zealand. Len Lye’s ideas about the role of “kinaesthetic empathy” in art-making profoundly shaped how I think about the history of animation. As a Visiting Researcher at the archive, I got to study the documents and working tools of this pioneering experimental animator.
June 30, 2016: I finally have time to migrate my website from an overpriced (and poorly managed) web builder to WordPress. This is just a temporary page (and template) up until I gradually move all of my previous posts and update new items.