The 22nd Annual Society for Animation Studies Conference

Miriam Harris

“Drawing Upon the Unconscious: Text and image in two animated films by Robert Breer and William Kentridge”

ert Breer and William Kentridge are both artists with international reputations, who make animated films that are typically projected within the context of the art gallery, or avant-garde film screenings. This presentation will explore two short animations in which words and drawings have an important presence: ‘Bang!’ (1986) by Breer, and ‘Automatic Writing’ (2003), by Kentridge. I will explore how both the semiotic and symbolic realms, as posited by Julia Kristeva, are manifested in these two animated films, making for a filmic experience that resonates with a viewer’s perceptions, as well as their unconscious.

Biographical statement:
Miriam Harris will be submitting her PhD for examination at the end of February, 2010. The title of her thesis is ‘Words that Move: How words and images are amalgamated within animation and the graphic novel’, and she has written chapters on Len Lye, Lynda Barry, Robert Breer and William Kentridge, graphic novels by the second generation after the Holocaust, and Michaela Pavlátová and Eastern European animation.
Miriam has had several essays published over the last five years that deal with the intertwining of text and image. She is a Senior Lecturer in Graphics and Animation at Unitec New Zealand.