Animate Assembly

Arakawa,-Ei,-BerlinSetUp Crop
10.7.2016, 17.0018.15
Department of Art, Goldsmiths
SE14 6NW London, UK
Lectures and collective work toward the first entries for a glossary of animation


Animation may be understood as a discrete set of experiential and technological possibilities, on the one hand, and a generalised politico-economic set of conditions on the other. Drawing on the crossovers and proliferations afforded by this doubling, the Animate Assembly network aims to debate the currency and significance of analogue and digital animation studies in view of the fundamental transformations occurring in cultural knowledge.


Through the first five sessions across Goldsmiths and Birkbeck the polemics and poetics of animation are explored by means of research screenings and collective work toward the first entries for a glossary of animation. WJT Mitchell will contribute a seminar and keynote in June.


Session 1: Histories (May 9), 6–9pm, Ian Gulland lecture theatre, Goldsmiths Some simple questions: What is animation? What was it and what can it come to be? Does it possess one or more histories, and, conversely, does history have animation or animations? The question of history also contains all the other points of excavation that follow in the symposium: ghosts, technologies, infrastructure.


Session 2: Technologies (May 10), 10–11.30am, Studio a, Barriedale Buildings, Goldsmiths Technologies, of whatever type, broker a link between individuals, collectives and outputs. These might be the technologies of cel animation, stop motion, pixel, print, 3D, or those of the camera, the computer, TV, cinema, book, the tablet, the touchscreen, glasses, colour. But in the encounter with animation, we point also to the technologies of eyes and bodies and ambiences and anything else that contributes to its mediation. What is the work of technologies in mediating animation, and what entanglements does it unleash? If animation is thought through its technologies, what becomes of it?


Session 3: Ghosts (May 10), 11.45am–13.15pm, Studio a, Barriedale Buildings, Goldsmiths Animation is full of ghosts. It is an exercise of the spirits, giving liveliness to the inanimate, sometimes historically recursive – sometimes projecting into a future, reanimating again and again its stock characters, its gags and tropes and never averse to mobilising magic against the law. Animated ghosts meet contemporary systems of production and projection to raise anew the question of what it means to be animate and be animated.


Session 4: Infrastructures (May 10), 14.15–15.45pm, Studio a, Barriedale Buildings, Goldsmiths Infrastructures indicate the various matrices within which animation and animated practices take place: machinic production, labour codes, competencies, the economic-political, the Cloud, the cinema, arts and the academy. Is the infrastructure of animation itself animated in various ways - perhaps by ghosts, technologies, histories, or by other things?


Session 5: Interim Resume (May 10), 4–5pm, Studio a, Barriedale Buildings, Goldsmiths Session 6: Image Science, seminar and public lecture by WJT Mitchell (June 10), details tbc


AND: "Ghosts of Neen: the Animated Cartoon becomes a Citizen" with Miltos Manetas


While passing from Art to Postinternet art, the world is now expressed by the creations of Two Different Kinds of Intelligent Entities: people and videogame creatures. The second entity is a mix of us people and of our various videoavatars as we compute the everyday through videogames and social networks. The same way Lara Croft and SuperMario have always been a mix of the game's programming and of YOU, the player, your Facebook/Twitter/Blog Persona is you AND the programming-at-large generated at each and every moment by everyone else connected on that platform. Your published snapshots and videos give "IT" a form and whatever you publish on your status give its voice. It's life is parallel but indipendent than yours, as it is very possible that once you are gone IT will be still around, communicating and acting. That's not new, Picasso and other cultural avatars went on existing after the expiration of their human counterpart, still, not only they were not existing-or at least not "strongly existing"-during their human counterpart's life but they also developed quite randomly after their humans death. No fine-tune or interaction or some kind of meticulous "programming" of the plot that the life of our own Avatar will eventually follow was possible until today and in that sense, we exercised our influence on our own art on just one universe: the one that included a single version of ourselves. Today we can do better...


Animate Assembly is propelled by Verina Gfader, Esther Leslie, Edgar Schmitz and Aylish Wood. The assembly is funded by CHASE and the Department of Art, Goldsmiths.
With the support of Berliner Künstlerprogramm des DAAD; Japan Foundation


Access with Berlin Biennale ticket