The 22nd Annual Society for Animation Studies Conference

Animation symposium - Bristol 13th July

If you have a bit of time in the UK after the conference finishes (or are nearby) you might want to look at this symposium being held in Bristol (you can fly direct from Edinburgh). Details and submission info below:

13th July – Watershed Media Centre, Bristol

Confirmed Keynote Speakers:

Alan Cholodenko
(University of Sydney); Editor of The Illusion of Life: Essays on Ani
mation and the Illusion of Life 2: More Essays on Animation

Nicky Hamlyn
(University of Creative Arts) Film-maker and author of Film, Art, Phenomena.

Esther Leslie
(University of Birkbeck); Author of Hollywood Flatlands, Animation, Critical Theory and the Avant-Garde, Walter Benjamin: Overpowering Conformism, Synthetic Worlds: Nature, Art and the Chemical Industry and Walter Benjamin.

Current preoccupations concerning animation's dissemination across all audiovisual media have occluded other questions regarding its specificities. The production of movement from still images is a specific technical substrate of animation that remains at the heart of its expanding role across all media. Theorists of animation have contributed important insights into the significance of this paradoxical immobility generating the illusion of movement and liveliness. Much work in animation studies, however, concentrates on mainstream deployments of animation in which a movement mapped out in the animation design is realised in such a way as to remove any sense of the 'interruption' of motion that is the basis of the animatic process. Standardised 'templates' for animated worlds, characters and actions tend to predominate in this arena. Experimental forms and films made 'in the manner of' animation (Hamlyn) frequently recognize and make transparent the critical potential of broken motion. This type of 'wrong' animation (Kingston) emphasizes and exploits the 'stop' of animation as a form of deviation, opening onto a desire to dwell, to hover and settle, and to question 'what it means to be animate or alive' (Smith) through the stop that sustains the motion, the death that drives the life.

The symposium will examine this desire through theoretical and practical exploration. Can correspondences be found between the obstruction of standard motion routines in animation and broader cultural/artistic tendencies of loitering and arresting time? Should we understand this experimental animation as wilfully under produced, whose 'incompetent...lack of smoothness is polemically set against commercial animation?' (Leslie). How can we understand animation that resists blending in, either to the general rule of the illusion of life or to other media in their largely conventional adoption of established mainstream animation techniques?

ANIMATION DEVIATION invites contributions from theorists, experimental filmmakers and animators working in this terrain of the paradoxical materiality of the production of animated audiovisuality. It is interested, for example, in structurally oriented works that revolve around use of cycles and sequences, animation as poetic, as intoxication, as excluded, operating out of field and otherwise breaking up the illusion of continuous motion as a withdrawal from the designated framing of movement. Workshops and Paper sessions will be convened to enable a mix of practice and presentation-based exploration.

DATE: 13th July 9.30am - 5.30pm
COST: £10.00 VENUE: Watershed Media Centre, 1 Canons Rd, Bristol, BS2 5TX


Please submit a 250 word abstract with your name, institutional affiliation and a 50 word bio.


Vicky Smith

Lecturer in Film Studies

Dept. of Culture, Media & Drama

University of the West of England

St Matthias Campus

BS16 2JP