Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Food Module: Analysis of Text - Absence, Excess and Epistemological Expansion: Towards a Framework for the Study of Animated Documentary

Absence, Excess and Epistemological Expansion: Towards a Framework for the Study of Animated Documentary - Annabelle Honess Roe

This journal was quite a different and intriguing read. I quite liked the correlation of animation and documentary presented within a chronological manner as it helped me to gain a better understanding of the subject matter and how it evolved/adapted over the eras.

I agreed with the basis that animation is a substantial aid to documentation when reconstructing historical events/environments to allow the audience to be immersed within the facts. However I felt that it needed to mention how animation has provided an insight to medical procedures and the impact of diseases/other aliment, which was not visually possible before within a moving 3D perspective; apart from sculpture diagrams. Although these medical animations are not technically a documentary as such, these are informative and educate the viewer with a deeper understanding. These medical animations however can be translated to a documentary format easily with the use of added interviews about certain procedures alongside facts and figures.

Through Paul Wells work on defining the production of documentaries, I found it interesting with the difference/reference to parts of documentaries that I would not necessarily link together. For example with one of the modes he defines, 'The Fantastic Mode' changes perspectives of already known and accepted modes of documentary depictions by 'presenting reality through the lens of surrealist animation that bears little or no resemblance to either the physical world or previous media styles.' With this description I personally felt that this would further link well to avant guarde animations, through how they pioneer innovative media and narrative which other animators take as inspiration and develop further. This form of animation often warps the sense of reality to one that is surreal and makes you question the movement and action within the scenes; it makes you question the message that they want to portray to the audience. An example of this can be seen in Stan Brakhage’s work, Mothlight, in which he takes a stunning mixed media approach to his animation. It makes the viewer question the message behind the imagery, what significance of the wings and other insect parts have? There are several interpretations of his work, with the most common suggesting that life is ever so short, to the extent that it is like the attraction of a moth to candle light.

I found it intriguing with the documentary animations that substitute/warp the characters within the animation to not relate to the interviewee in appearance at all. I felt that this form of depiction worked well as animation is an art form itself and using this portrayal of designs not only aids the aesthetics but also creates a form of censorship; hiding the appearance of the interviewee. One of the examples that is described in the text, It's Like That, shows young asylum seekers as knitted puppets of birds to portray the people who were recorded for the animation. This works successfully this form of animation makes the viewer connect to the characters more, making an emotional impact on the audience with the use of the interview and the appeal. Depending on how emotional and mature the recordings are this could work with presenting to a younger audience than the animation was originally intended for, creating a bigger range of awareness.

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