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.