Janeann Dill, Ph.D., MFA, MA

Founder and CCO

The artist is a creative intellectual,
not an inspired idiot. 
1956 Brown Report, Harvard University

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Colombian Avant-Garde Animation     

Friday, February 4, 2011 : 7:00 pm

University Park Campus
Eileen Norris Cinema Theatre (NCT)

Admission is free.
Reception to follow.

Join USC for a stimulating screening of rarely seen expressive Colombian animation featuring powerful metaphors, surreal landscapes and haunting images. These groundbreaking experimental animations utilize techniques ranging from rotoscoping to under-the-camera animation, capturing the imagination and challenging traditional concepts of cinema. A thought-provoking conversation will examine the role of art in the context of war and the role of the artist in politics. The discussion will feature Colombian filmmakers Cecilia Traslaviña and   Carlos Santa; international media scholars Janeann Dill, Claudia Salamanca and Cristina Venegas; and USC's MFA student, Juan Camilo González.

About the participants:

Janeann Dill is an artist and scholar and author of the forthcoming book Thought and Timing,  Philosophy of Experimental Animation. Dill has presented papers in numerous conferences       worldwide, including the Tawasul II Design Conference in Saudi Arabia and the Danish Animation Studies conference held at the University of Copenhagen. She has received numerous awards, including an Ahmanson Foundation grant, an Annenberg Foundation independent-media grant and a James Irvine Foundation grant. Her award-winning film Paris Is a Woman has been screened internationally.

Juan Camilo González is an MFA student in the John C. Hench Division of Animation                     and Digital Arts at USC. Born in Manizales, Colombia, González met filmmakers Cecilia           Traslaviña and Carlos Santa while a student in the visual-arts program at Javeriana University             in Bogotá. González worked on Traslaviña’s film Almas Santas Almas Pacientes and Santa’s               epic feature film Los Extraños Presagios de Leon Prozac. González’s own films include                Los Tres Errantes and Mecanismo Olvidador.

Claudia Salamanca is a Colombian video artist and scholar and a PhD candidate in the rhetoric department at UC Berkeley. Her dissertation is called “Performance of Violence                      and Political Contestations through Images of the Colombian War Conflict.” Her video art and           writing focus on imagery based on the Colombian war and explore the relationship between               these images and visual technologies. She also performs and produces video with Tropical             Effect, a group directed by Malcolm Smith, and with Nox(0), a Boston-based performance group.

Carlos Santa is the pioneer of experimental animation in Colombia and mentor of many young Colombian artists today. His works seduce us with their beauty, but then shock us                     by revealing the complex roles of contemporary people immersed in our own tragedies.                     His films include El pasajero de la noche, La selva oscura and Los Extraños Presagios                   de Leon Prozac.

Cecilia Traslaviña was born in Bogotá, Colombia. She has worked at Javeriana University           as an animation teacher and coordinator of the experimental-animation course. Her most                recent work, Almas Santas Almas Pacientes (Holy Souls Patient Souls), was selected                       by several international film festivals and was included in the Colombian Experimental       Animation program at the 6th IAFF ReAnimacja in Poland.

Cristina Venegas is an associate professor in film and media studies at the University of                 California, Santa Barbara. She is the author of Digital Dilemmas: The State, the Individual                 and Digital Media in Cuba and has written about film and political culture, revolutionary         imagination in the Americas, telenovelas, contemporary Latin American cinema and Cuban   cyberculture. She has curated numerous film programs on Latin American and indigenous                 film and is the co-founder and artistic director of the Latino CineMedia International Film              Festival in Santa Barbara.

    Organized by Sheila Sofian (Associate Professor of Animation and Digital Arts, USC). 



Animation Evolution
22nd Society for Animation Studies Conference
Edinburgh July 9-11, 2010

Pre-constituted panel
The papers on this panel will explore and elaborate key theoretical approaches to animation in terms of death.

Death is a subject which has not only never had a panel dedicated to it at SAS conferences (as far as research reveals), it has not even had more than a few papers dedicated to it at them. Yet this subject, so foregrounded in and by not only cinema but Western culture as to form one of the two privileged foci of both, is likewise, it will be claimed, privileged by animation.

Founded in 1987, the Society is an international membership organization that supports and encourages animation scholarship through various means, including its annual conferences.

At Death’s Insistence:Theorising Animation and Death

Alan Cholodenko (Chair)
(The) Death (of) the Animator, or:
The Felicity of Felix, Part III: The Death of Death

This paper will elaborate animation’s centrality to contemporary culture, the paramount nature of animation’s relation to the uncanny in that centrality, and the profound implications of that centrality for the contemporary world and subject. To that end it will foreground the assertions of animation theorist Taihei Imamura in 1948 and philosopher Slavoj Zizek in 1991 of the relevance of the return of the dead for contemporary culture, then turn to Jean Baudrillard for a larger vision of the (lifedead) matter.
Biographical Statement:
The paper I propose is part 3 of the paper whose first part I presented at the 2007 Animated Dialogues Conference in Melbourne and second part at the 2007 SAS conference at Portland. It extends my theorizing in those parts of the relation of animation to death, as well extends that theorizing in my Introductions to The Illusion of Life and The Illusion of Life 2 and in a number of my articles. Dr. Cholodenko is an Honorary Associate at The University of Sydney’s Department of Art History and Film Studies.

Janeann Dill
Insisting on Animation:
An Eclipsed Birth Meets An Eclipsed Death

Abstract: Taking inspiration from George Bataille’s statement, “A dictionary begins when it no longer gives the meaning of words, but their tasks,” this paper is a questioning look at the early birth and seeming death of critical histories for experimental film and experimental animation. Insisting upon the persistence of experimental animation as a singular  aesthetic, this scholar distinguishes the art form while simultaneously reaching across the disciplines of art history, cinema history and philosophical inquiry. While this paper does not analyze Bataille per se, its author is inspired by the quote.
Biographical Statement:
Founder-Director of the virtual ThinkTank, Institute for Interdisciplinary Art and Creative Intelligence, Janeann Dill reaches across the creative disciplines to inhabit a critical landscape at the four-point intersect of experimental animation, cinema, fine art, and philosophy.  Dr. Dill’s global research examines experimental animation as an inherently interdisciplinary and neo-aesthetic experimental fine arts practice per se. Imbuing a praxis in experimental animation with a praxis in painting and drawing, her scholarship and research largely take its critical cues from Eisenstein, Eggeling, Krauss, Adams-Sitney, Moritz, Deleuze and Heidegger. In doing so, she tentatively joins thought to the unthought. 

Michael Dow
It’s Raining Coyotes: Death and/in the Chase

Abstract: In surveying a number of American cartoons during the post-World War II era, this paper seeks to demonstrate the ways in which popular animation engages in an aporetical uncertainty, focusing primarily on the investiture of sapience into the cartoon character, the existential connotations of the chase, and the “death confrontation” signified by the blackout gag. The motifs of acknowledgment and “deceleration” in the cartoons of the era will be addressed: how does this phenomenology of the personified form produce this effect? How is the acknowledgment of a “life/death” state enacted, and what are its implications for post-World War II culture?
Biographical Statement: Michael Vincent Dow is currently completing his dissertation, “The Death of the Chase: The Social Psychology of the Post-World War II American Animated Cartoon” at New York University. He teaches film and animation studies at Northeastern University in Boston. His paper is an extension of his dissertation, which focuses on American cartoons as reflection of the postwar social condition.

The LIfeworld of WALL-E: A New Generation

Birth and death --- crucial components of the social --- are all turned upside down in WALL-E.
An examination of this film through Edmund Husserl’s phenomenology, especially his characterisation of generativity and “lifeworld” with their focus on life and death — generation — will demonstrate clearly how the medium of animation is best suited to grasp the poignancy of a character locked in a dead world, the tenderness of the love between binoculars on a box and an egg, the degradation of humanity when free will is denied it and the optimism of the rebirth of our planet.
Biographical Statement: I took my PhD at the University of Sydney in 2002. My thesis, entitled “The Community of Film,” investigated the analysis of live action film and animation through the phenomenology of Edmund Husserl. My essay, “The Infinite Quest: Husserl, Bakshi, the Rotoscope and the Ring,” is published in The Illusion of Life 2: More Essays on Animation, ed. Alan Cholodenko, 2007. The paper I propose for this conference is an extension of this work. Dr. Riggs is an independent scholar based in Sydney.

2009 CAA
College Art Association 2009 Conference, Los Angeles, February 25-28, 2009
Session Date and Time: Friday, February 27, 2009 2:30 PM – 5:00 PM 
Concourse Meeting Room 408B, Level 2, Los Angeles Convention Center


Chair of Session:  Dr. Janeann Dill
Experimental animation was presented as fine art by its creators long before the art world acknowledged William Kentridge's work, the widely-accepted marker to distinguish animation a "legitimate" language in fine art. Looking beyond the constraining nomenclature of cartoon inherited from Sergei Eisenstein and forwarded by Gilles Deleuze and Rosalind Krauss, this panel visits an earlier history of art practice and critical thinking in experimental animation that was passed over by art history and then relegated to film history, where it was equally ignored. Considered neither art nor film, experimental animation dropped out of critical consideration entirely from its 1921 origins in the first experimental animation film, Opus I by Walter Ruttmann, until the early 1970's with the writings of Louise O'Konor (on Viking Eggeling), Standish Lawder (on experimental film), William Moritz (on Oskar Fischinger), and Jeanpaul Goergen (on Walter Ruttman). With seminal texts by P. Adams Sitney, Visionary Film: The American Avant-Garde (1974), and Cecile Starr and Robert Russett’s Experimental Animation: An Illustrated Anthology (1976), a nascent canon of critical art history in experimental animation was formed.

Progeny to Modernism’s belief that the human condition is comforted by new technology to enable the spiritual, sensual, and rational in art, contemporary experimental animation offers a resolve to fulfill pictorial ideas in time. Inherently, experimental animation is an aesthetic to pulse rhythmic separations between space and time as invisible interstices in a frame-based consciousness of expression and perception, projection and reception. From the technologies of optical toy to electronic imaging, a space-time continuum (Eisenstein’s posit of dynamism) is understood here as a kind of drag or pressure at the interval of singular frames in motion to create an invisible tension that is gravity-like in its timing. In the creative practice of animation, technical considerations are symbiotically tied to aesthetics to render a distinction between movement in time and timing as animation. The foundational principles of animation adhere to laws of timing motion, e.g., bouncing ball, walk cycle, and waveform. Beyond the concept of “art in motion,” when these foundational principles are not operating in some degree as rhythmic timing, movement occurs absent animation.

Rooted in the art historical trajectories of experimental animation, experimental film, digital art and expanded cinema, this panel links the critical histories of art, film, and philosophy as one. This session serves not only to excavate its panelists’ individual research, but, collectively, to engender a critical authority previously languishing.

Thought and Timing In the Round:  Muybridge, Engel,  Deleuze
Dr. Janeann Dill, Institute Director, IIACI: Institute for Interdisciplinary Art and Creative Intelligence (Think Tank)
Along with Sergei Eisenstein and Rosalind Krauss, Gilles Deleuze perceives animation at the level of single-frame technology and names all animation “cartoon.” For Deleuze, there are conditions that determine cinema. His critique involving films previously positioned within the terrain of experimental animation is excavated in this paper and put forward as compelling critical thought to place experimental animation outside cinema. Deleuze is alert to the implications of Muybridge’s “horse’s gallop” as an historical change of status in movement in painting, dance, ballet and mime to release values that are not posed. Jules Engel’s Accident (1973) is a two-fold work of lithography and experimental animation to equally assert this awareness in the history of art, cinema, and experimental animation.  Aside from a surface language of animal locomotion, the primacy of the frame as a principle of timing acceleration, deceleration and variation is fulfilled in the collective Muybridge, Engel and Deleuze.

Pat O'Neill:  The Old Dodge and the Rhizome, On the “Experimental” and the “Real”  
Professor Erika Suderburg, Departments of Art, Media and Cultural Studies, and Dance, University of California, Riverside.
This paper examines Pat O'Neill's two feature length films Water and Power (1989) and The Decay of Fiction (2002) and their relation to the conceptual and geographic topography of Southern California, the mechanics of the optical printer, and the history of experimental cinema in relation to place, memory and imaging.

An Art of Radical Juxtaposition:  The Expanded Cinema of Stan VanDerBeek
and Robert Breer

Dr. Andrew V. Uroskie, Assistant Professor, Modern and Contemporary Art, Photography and the Moving Image, Department of Art and Affiliate Faculty, Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies, Stony Brook University.

This paper takes up the discourse of assemblage in the early 1960s as a way of reconceptualizing the terrain of animation within which the practices of Robert Breer and Stan VanDerBeek have long been considered.  As a merely pictorial conception of collage was giving way to a more wide-ranging model of assemblage as environmental juxtaposition, these artists sought to rethink the institutional norms and spectatorial preconceptions regarding film’s material form, site, and mode of encounter.  Already known for refusing both the “deep space” of the theatrical feature film and the two-dimensional field of modernist “visual music,” their work underwent a further transformation within their site-specific cinematic interventions.  Examining Breer’s cinematic performance within Stockhausen’s Originals (1964) and VanDerBeek’s “Movie Mural” for Cage’s Variations V (1965), I show how an interdisciplinary, intermedia practice of expanded cinema was then emerging as a radical extension of the assemblage tradition.

Signature as Sense and Sensation: Animating Affect as Musical Diagram
Dr. James Tobias, Assistant Professor, Cinema and Digital Media Studies, University of California, Riverside.
Digital appropriations of modernist animation or accounts of modernism as prosthesis together prompt renewed questions about the ethical dimensions of artwork on the interstices of aesthetics and technics. Reading for sense and sensation in Fischinger's 1947 animated film Motion Painting #1 prompts a different account of ethics, aesthetics, and technics. Rendering visible the modern's invisible materialities (Kesting’s clockwork of energetic time; Bloch’s alternative “carpet motif” history of industrial modernity) in science, art, or philosophy could leave the untutored in the dark.  Motion Painting #1 animated the concerns of transmedial modernisms where inventing technics was requisite to stylizing an accessible, ethical aesthetics of modern materiality as affect.   Identifying the ethical dimensions of work marginalized yet widely sampled expands notions of authorial signature. Where inventing machines accompanies aesthetic advances, a signature effect (beyond a work’s “hand” or a patent application) emerges between the sense composed for, and the sensation generated in, reception.