Week 18: Animation & Audience

In this lesson, we focused on the genre of animation, explored various animation techniques and the way of categorizing it. Then we watched Tango (1980), one of the formal experiments of animation, showing plenty of different activities taking place at one time in a loop.


We have also learnt about the film form, which could be roughly divided to two – Narrative and Non-narrative. Usually, the narrative structure contains equilibrium, disturbance, conflict and resolution, with sequence of actions, whereas non-narrative films are more categorical and abstract. In addition, non-narrative structure is more likely to be seen in experimental cinema, music or video.

In the end, we looked into the rule of animation, including establishing shot, 180 degree rule, eyeline matches, etc. The animation film Paprika has shown us most of the rules in a humorous way, with the main character experiencing those different rules by himself.

Key characteristic of political animation

As one of the common genres of animation, political animation usually contains exaggeration and symbolism to help build the concept and to emphasis the ideas. For example, in the film Fantastic Planet (1973), A mother runs in terror cradling her child, only to be picked up and flung to the ground by a giant blue hand. Exaggeration has been applied to the film a lot.

Another key figure is Analogy, by using comparison, animation could become more sharp and mean. (eg. Persepolis, 2007)

What is more, labeling is also a typical characteristic of political animation. In the animation series South Park, the main characters are been labeled to such as Jewish, The poor and Gay, to make it clear exactly what they stand for.

Week 17: Breaking news – It’s the end of elephant and castle!







In the morning of 18th Feb, London is been attacked by a lot of unknown creatures, causing huge explosion and death of over thousand citizens. In the photo above you can see that it is becoming red and dark almost everywhere in Elephant and Castle, with a bolt of lightning crackled through the sky.

“It’s global warming! We shouldn’t believe Donald Trump, he is a liar!” said one of the survivors, who lost all the families in this explosion. Although many citizens believe it’s caused by global warming, our government has announced that it’s definitely an attack from aliens or other unknown creatures. “There is no global warming.” Said Dr Sillyson, a specialist of weather and environment, “Global warming is not true, even there is, it shouldn’t happen now.”

What could we do to overcome this situation? No one have a certain answer. However, what if this is not an attack from the aliens, but attack from the USA? As Donald Trump has laid to us that there is no global warming, we could imagine that USA has been a dick to the UK for a long while – maybe the explosion in Elephant and Castle is just the beginning…


Report by Berry

Week 16: Animation & Feminism

In this week’s CTS, we watched a few short films related to feminism. Many of them are mixed media, some are even containing live action, showing how diversity can be applied to animated films.

Le clitoris

One of my favourite films is Le Clitoris, which is full of sexuality, but seems to be much adorable and interesting with the pinky cartoon character. It’s also very informative as the film has given emphasis to something that males may ignore. Although in this short animation, there is only pink, white and black, the story is very simple and successful.

Another film called What is Beauty has also interested me. It expresses the evolution of the female body in an extremely smooth and sequential way. The figure keeps changing and re-shaping, using exaggeration to attract audience’s attention. The shape is stretching and squeezing, forming a series of different concept of beauty. And in the end, it leaves the question to the audience. What is beauty? It’s absolutely something would cause one to think deeply about.

Overall, I think the film we watched are all very meaningful and inspiring. The application of hand craft and collarge in Kelly Gallagher’s work is also interesting for us to see.

Week 5: Gallery Visit of The Strand X – Strange Days: Memories of the Future

  This Friday, 2nd of November, I visited The Strand X to see the Strange Days: Memories of the Future, a new exhibition that includes 21 videos produced by different film-makers.
  The works in “Strange Days” emphasize a fractured sense of time: history collides with the present, and future speculations are vexed by a distant past. It aims to show the expand definitions of identity, vulnerability and power.
  Despite many great films in the exhibition, I looked into the one called Grosse Fatigue particularly, as the animation effects applied to this film really interested me. This video is produced by Camille Henrot in 2013. It seems the artist attempts to not only understand the chaos of history, but also visualize this disarray.
  In this film, a lot of layers of browser research windows are open on the screen along with a long rap, those windows are placed in various ways, they are overlapped, reshaped, centralized, zoomed in, zoomed out, etc. Henrot is also using the collection of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC for which she received the Silver Lion at 55th Venice Biennale. And all of these special formats of film-making has made the video very fluid and enjoyable. Also, the sound effect is just fitted for the frames. Every time a window shows up or slides away, it gives you a sudden feel of appearing and disappearing.
  Henrot’s faceless protagonist guides us through the museum without a terminal goal, browsing with the same freedom, if not the same aimlessness, as time spent online. However, Grosse Fatigue evades hopelessness in the face of the weight of human knowledge, whether in the museum or in more virtual archives. Highlighting the limitations of various disciplines, meta-narratives, and creation myths, Henrot also demonstrates the ways in which we necessarily navigate, appropriate, and amalgamate these systems in order to understand our world.
 Besides, Henrot follows anthropologists, conservators, and office workers as they reveal the organizational structure of the institution, with its drawers of taxidermy animal specimens, computer archives, and office corridors. These mundane physical and architectural frameworks that constructed to contain an incomprehensible body of knowledge, are ultimately only able to describe isolated areas of human experience and achievement. Science, history, ancient and modern myth, religion, art, anthropology – there are so many of them squeezed in this 13-mintue video, almost giving us information explosion in our heads, and every single frame is thought-provoking.

In conclusion, the video has really lead me into the interesting part of history chaos by telling the story of the universe’s creation from a computer desktop and using collections of animal bodies. Grosse Fatigue is a curious hymn to foundation and creation, but above all to death and extinction. In addition, we can see a lot of researching and building up work behind this video and how the artist has using her divergent thinking to link all of the information together. As a whole, Strange Days is a very inspiring and exhilarating exhibition that I would strong recommend people to visit.



Week 4: Where and how is animation seen? – Through their eyes film festival

Who is the audience?:
Animal lovers, the elderly, people who follow animal videos online, abuse victims, spiritual people.

What is their story?:
They are people looking for animal comfort in an unforgiving human world.

Where are they? Where do they come from? Where are they going?:
We travel to them from our festival base, visiting retirement homes and therapy centers.

What have they been through? What do they know? What don’t they know?:
They’ve been through trauma, some are lonely and want time with either the animals or need a reason to spend time with family like this event.
They know that the animals have not been harmed during any film shoots.
They don’t know what the films are about other than the categories.
The people can feed the animals if they bring their own food.
The categories will vary from each event but will generally involve bringing awareness to animal abuse and showing the beauty of animals, possibly exploring the world either through the animals eyes or the hidden parts of their lives we never see.

Week 3: What is animation?

In this seminar, we started with a discussion about a few definations of animation and learnt about “persistence of vision”. Then we went through the brief history of old forms of animation. It’s interesting to know how early that animation has actually been created in the world, and we can still see a few of the early animation tools such as Zoetrope in some museums.


After that, we watched several early animations, including Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory (1895), L’ Arrivée d’un train à La Ciotat (1897) and A Trip to the Moon (1902). We looked into A Trip to the Moon specifically and tried to think about its meaning in depth.

The story is simple, a group of people who might be astronauts traveled to the moon with a cannon, and fighted with some strange creatures (or Aliens?) live in the moon.

Since the visual effects haven’t been mature during the production of A Trip to the Moon, it has used an older technique – special effects. Although the special effects in the film seems to be very simple and crude for us to see nowadays, I could image how surprise that people live in 1900s would be by watching that film. Since techniques at that time haven’t been popularly used in film production, they might find the effects in the movie really dramatic.

A Trip to the Moon

This film also reminds me of the film Star Wars (1977), which is famous for its amazing visual effects. As new series have been produced with more developed techniques, people start to realize how basic the earlier ones are.

In A Trip to the Moon, we can see there are many artwork included, used for background or part of the special effects. The combination of real people and man-made objects created a foggy illusion for the audience. It seems that film has brought the audience to an unknown world – the space. And the enemies are also fantastical, as there’s no prove of aliens. I think that may be why the film is so successful.

Week 2: How animation is?

Animation could be everywhere!

In the seminar, we were told to find an object in the college that could be “supernature”. And soon, with suggestion of one of us, we found an old, single sofa in the dark bar.

Creepy sofa!

Although it seems to be as normal as the others, there is something different. When you try to touch it, the sofa will suddenlt stretch itself, along with a very sharp noise.

After observing the supernature sofa, we went to the library and did some research about supernature furnitures. Here are some resources we found could be useful:

Supernature : the natural history of the supernatural / (by) Lyall Watson

Shadows in the attic : a guide to British supernatural fiction, 1820-1950 / Neil Wilson; introduction by Ramsey Campbell.


Week 1: Why animation?

In this week’s seminar, our topic is about Why animation is used and to what purposes it has been mobilised. In the class, we watched a few film clips and discussed about how animation is examined relate to social, cultural and economic contexts.

We read ‘The Cosmic Cinama of Jordan Belson” and highlighted particular word describing the colour applied to animation. The article has shown us a very different view of animation. Word such as amorphous, gaseous and cloudlike imagery have been used to define the forms that ebb and flow across the frame, and it suggests the essence of cinema is precisely “dynamic movement of from and colour”, which I have never thought about before.

Note taking from class

In additon, we looked into the history of GIF and shared our favourite one with class. The seminar is very meaningful and Inspiring to me, I may start to see animation in a more diversified way.


1st Project: Fake news


As my first project of this term, I worked with a group of students to complete a short speech with the theme “fake news”. We listed a number of ideas which could be included.

Our final product is a powerpoint sildeshow with a few photoshoped images, telling how easy that fake news could be created. Here are some of the images:

It’s very interesting to work as a team and do speech in front of so many students. Also other groups’ ideas are so brilliant that I learnt a lot from them.