Resurrection or creation?


During the reading of George Griffin’s ‘Take the B Train: Reconstructing the Proto-Cinematic Apparatus’, I’ve learned about three artists and their concrete animation works. Before this, I have seen this kind of apparatus quite a lot, but Eric Dyer, one of the artists in the reading, his work ‘The Bellows March’ shocked me completely.

Using intricate optical machines to create animations or installations is not something new. What shocked me most was, in his work, Dyer made a series of machines, then videotaped and combined their performances into an animation movie. Every one of his machines could be seen as a single shot of his animation. Thus, ‘The Bellows March’ is both an installation art and an animation film. I see this as a most extraordinary animated artwork because it crossed two different art fields and mastered both of them.

Beside of that, in another reading, ‘An Ersatz of Life: The Dream Life of Technology’, author Zoe Beloff summarized her theory at the end of the reading: “all media technologies could be said to be shot through with this idea of artificial resurrection, with time and death.” I like her idea but I also wondering if her theory could be applied to animation films.

As my understanding, Beloff’s theory is based on a cinema/film was shot by the camera and camera records movements. That’s why she uses the idea of ‘artificial resurrection’. But animation is a different case since there is no “real” movement ever took place in an animation film. Well, maybe rotoscoping is an exception since there are footages been used as the reference, but for most animation films, all the movements are illusions created by the animator. So, maybe we should say, animation art is based on the idea of ‘artificial creation’ instead of ‘artificial resurrection’?

And here is the most interesting part, if we look back to Eric Dyer’s film, should it be count into animation or cinema? Since the film was created by recording the movements of those machines, it fits Beloff’s theory about cinema. But what generated by those movements is animation, and animation is an illusion created by the animator, it can’t fit into Beloff’s theory anymore…

Dang it! Animation is such a unique, tricky, and troublesome art form. (ToT)

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