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Digitalis Catalogue

Digitalis Catalogue

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Published by Animate Projects
This is the free catalogue for Animate Projects' Digitalis project and includes information about the works and artists, with commissioned essays about art and the digital space.

Animation is at the forefront of digital innovation. It is fundamental to, and pervasive in, digital creativity and culture, and Digitalis sets out to explore, question, subvert or confound our expectations of art and the 'digital'.

Digitalis comprises of the exhibition of four new commissions, an Open exhibition of 11 selected works, a series of public events and this catalogue publication.

Writers include: Nick Bradshaw, Ele Carpenter, Emma Geliot, Max Hattler, Rosemary Heather, Tim Shore and Gary Thomas.

The catalogue is also available in newspaper form from animateprojects.org/shop (free publication, but postage rates apply).
This is the free catalogue for Animate Projects' Digitalis project and includes information about the works and artists, with commissioned essays about art and the digital space.

Animation is at the forefront of digital innovation. It is fundamental to, and pervasive in, digital creativity and culture, and Digitalis sets out to explore, question, subvert or confound our expectations of art and the 'digital'.

Digitalis comprises of the exhibition of four new commissions, an Open exhibition of 11 selected works, a series of public events and this catalogue publication.

Writers include: Nick Bradshaw, Ele Carpenter, Emma Geliot, Max Hattler, Rosemary Heather, Tim Shore and Gary Thomas.

The catalogue is also available in newspaper form from animateprojects.org/shop (free publication, but postage rates apply).

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Categories:Types, Brochures
Published by: Animate Projects on Dec 20, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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‘The entire plant is toxic (including the roots and seeds), although the leaves o the upper stem are particularly potent, with just a nibble, being enough to potentially cause death. There have been instances o  people conusing digitalis with the relatively  harmless.’
Digitalis, Wikipedia contributors, Wikipedia,retrieved 1 December 2011, romen.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digitalis
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 Animate began in 1990, commissioningartists and animators to make experimentallms or television. It was one o severalcollaborations between the Arts Counciland broadcasters as part o a strategy thataimed to lever additional nancial supportor ambitious projects and to enable therelatively vast television audience to readilyengage with artists’ moving image. It was,crucially, about television as a primary orm- not merely platorm - or contemporaryartists’ practice.Nowadays, exhorted to broadcast ourselves,the idea o ‘television’ itsel can seemquaint idea. ‘Digital’ is as unwieldy a subjector discussion as ‘writing’ or ‘biological’.Nevertheless, the institutions o supportreduce debate to their reminders that digitalmedia technologies are aecting everyaspect o our society, economy and culture.In messages that themselves reach us byemail. Interrupting our making and delivery oonline purchases or attending James Wales’personally appealing eyes.What this language o ‘aect’ and impactbetrays is how many o us in the arts and ourarts institutions are playing catch up with theworld. Digital doesn’t simply aect the world.It is the world. The world is digital. And aswith previous technological revolutions -the printing press, the threshing machine,penicillin - nothing is the same as it ever was.
‘Homer: Is this episode going on the air live? June Bellamy: No, Homer. Very ew cartoons are broadcast live. It’s a terrible strain on the animators’ wrists.’
The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show, TheSimpsons, Season 8, Fox Network, 1997The notion that ‘live’ is primary still prevails,with media - broadcast, and now digital -as carriers. Arts Council England assertshow ‘digital technologies enable artiststo connect with audiences in new ways,bringing them into a closer relationship withthe arts and creating new ways or them totake part.’In all the hoopla around digital relay o operaand Twitter eeds in theatres it would bewrong to conuse the ‘live’ - cultural objects- with culture itsel. Many o us are culturallyengaged elsewhere. In places the ‘live’do not go and cannot reach. A generationdoesn’t riot because it can’t sing in a choir. And the digital does depend on our ‘re-imagining’ what an ‘arts experience’ can be- it can be an authentic ‘arts experience’ inits own right. And the challenge or that artis to counter our acquiescence; to becomecelebrant not supplicant.
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You are reading this. Either rom theprinted page (and i so, does this very act yetseem strange to you? I not, one day, it will.)Or rom a screen. Just as text isn’t speechand reading isn’t listening, so these aredierent ways o reading, and the dierence,inevitably, incurs a shit in meaning. Theways in which we compose and understandlanguage depends on circumstance.Platorm circumscribes text and we writeand read dierently accordingly. So muchirony lost in email translation. Animated moving image is ubiquitous now,on public and personal screens - newdigital spaces that are very dierent to thetraditions o cinema or television.Screen size, devices that we hold in ourhand, the choice o what, where and whenwe view – these are all elements thatcontribute to new modes and orms oexpression and receipt.
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 Artists have always explored andinterrogated technologies and animation isat the oreront o creative and technologicaldigital innovation. In the spirit o thepioneering project Container Ship (cship.e-2.org, 1998), and its proposition o ‘internetspecic art’, Digitalis set out as a tentativeexploration o digital ‘circumstance’ asmaterial and site or experimental animationpractice, and the inherent shits in practiceand engagement as the work that artistsmake responds to shits technologies. Artistsmake work in, or, and about these newdigital contexts and Digitalis oers pause torefect on making and engaging with art indigital spaces.
Digitalis Commissions
The Digitalis Commissions are our lmsselected rom an open call or short lmsthat explored and interrogated the digital astexture, material and site or artistic practice.Proposals were considered by a Jurycomprising o: Abigail Addison, AssistantDirector, Animate Projects; Nick Bradshaw,Web Editor, Sight & Sound Magazine; SusanCollins, artist and Director o the SladeSchool o Fine Art; Gary Thomas, Director, Animate Projects; and Sarah Williams,Coordinator, Jerwood Visual Arts.The selected artists are: Adam Butcher,Lizzie Hughes, James Lowne and MatildaTristram. The lms premiered at BFISouthbank on 14 December 2011. They canbe seen online at animateprojects.org andare available to download through iTunes.
 Animate OPEN Digitalis
The Animate OPEN: Digitalis is Animate’srst online exhibition selected rom an opencall or submissions by a Jury comprisingFrancesca Gavin, writer, curator and Visual Arts Editor at Dazed & Conused; RebeccaShatwell, Director, AV Festival; Gary Thomas,Director, Animate Projects; and artist andmusic video director, David Wilson.Works by 11 UK-were selected rom morethan 200 works submitted. The Jury ocusedon the Digitalis theme - considering howworks explored digital technology and ideaso the digital, and their appropriateness toonline exhibition and engagement.The artists are: AL and AL, Tony Comley,Phil Coy, Kristian de la Riva, Joe Hardy, MaxHattler, James Lowne, Rob Munday, NorikoOkaku, Edwin Rostron, and David Theobald.The Jury Prize was awarded to JamesLowne or his lm Someone behind the doorknocks at irregular intervals. Joe Hardy andKristian de la Riva were also awarded SpecialMentions. Max Hattler won the Audience Prize. All the lms can be seen at
, along withinterviews with the artists and backgroundproduction materials.This newspaper includes inormationabout the lms and artists in the Digitalisprogramme, along with commissioned textsabout the lms and related themes. Thereare two Digitalis Discussion events -a screening and panel at BFI Southbank inDecember 2011 and a symposium at LondonCollege o Communication in 2012.The Digitalis Commissions are supported bythe Jerwood Charitable Foundation. Digitalisis supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.Please share your thoughts on the digitalwith us at
Digitalis: Algorithmo lie is apowerul beat
Gary Thomas
Digitalis About the Writer
 Gary Thomas is Director o Animate Projects
About the Writer
 Nick Bradshaw is a writer and journalist andWeb Editor at Sight & Sound magazine.He was a member o the selection jury orthe Digitalis Commissions.
Digitalis:Electro —Reections
Nick Bradshaw
William Gibson, as ever, puts it best: ‘Theprex “cyber” is going the way o “electro”.’The digital world that just a ew years agoseemed so brave and new will soon be – oris? – such a commonplace that it won’t bearmention, just as we take or granted modernlie’s electrical inrastructure. Digital will bethe deault modes o movie production,distribution and exhibition, but more thanthat, its voracious appetite or simulating allthe techniques and qualities o the analogue– rom the celluloid ‘look’ on down – willleave precious little to contrast betweenthe two modes. Or so I’m increasinglyconvinced. Perhaps the subtleties o penciland paper are still not replicable, but Iwouldn’t be surprised.Still, the light o strangeness has not yetdimmed on the digital revolution; and as Iwatched James Lowne’s Someone behindthe door knocks at irregular intervals (andspeculated on the outcome o his DigitalisCommission, Our relationships will becomeradiant), it seemed that there was stillsomething unexpected, or counterintuitive,about the notion o contemplative ormeditative art in the digital space. Isn’t digitalabout artice, reconguration, alchemy,commotion, whisper our prejudices? Isn’tthe internet, the acme o the digital, one bigdistraction system? (Yes, but only becauseit’s an expression o the human id.) Isn’t itthose ruminants o the cinema – NathanielDorsky, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, BélaTarr, Lisandro Alonso, you name them– who’ve clung on longest to celluloid, withits Bazinian indexical relationship to a worldbigger and wilder than the artist’s palette?Yes, but even then I’m reminded o thosewho have crossed the foor: Americanlandscape artist James Benning, say, whorecently retired his 16mm camera or HDvideo. His rst video eature Ruhr, thougha typically ultra-minimalist single-shotcontemplation o a actory at sunset, sawhim immediately take up digital’s oero invisible, DIY image manipulation: themovie’s condensation o two hours’ wortho colour changes into one hour-long shotmakes Ruhr the most spartan instance odigital animation I know. (I’m also minded topropose the elided rog symphony at the endo Abbas Kiarostami’s Five Dedicated to Ozuas a comparable case o extreme-minimalistpixilation, but perhaps that’s pushingthe point too ar.) O Animate’s Digitaliscommissions, Lizzie Hughes’s Fountain(zoom) seems to promise a variation on thislong-take manipulated-photography theme,with its slow zoom and trompe l’oeil ocussounding echoes o both Michael Snow’sWavelength and Hitchcock’s amous dollyzoom in Vertigo.[1]O course, animation doesn’t have to claima photographic relationship with the world inorder to create a space or contemplation, asmany Animate commissions down the yearshave demonstrated. But those animationsthat are explicitly ‘digital’? O the worksselected or the Animate OPEN: Digitalisexhibition, Max Hattler’s conveyor-belt enter-the-void visions 1923 aka Heaven and 1925aka Hell could be classed as trance lms (anequal but opposite state to contemplation?).Edwin Rostron’s Visions o the Invertebratecertainly conjures a meditative, immersivespace somewhere in the back zones oour mind, speaking directly to the worldo concepts and the subconscious. Mostpertinent, Joe Hardy’s visually minimalist,aurally evocative Cassette Tape: Side Aopens up acres o thought time over its15-minute span.It’s striking, though, how many o theselms – Cassette Tape, David Theobald’sWorker’s Playtime (a TV or our robotcolleagues), Phil Coy’s eleven secondso paradise (2010) (fash-rame images o‘paradise’ grabbed rom the internet) harkback to earlier iterations o technology itsel.Can digital animation look beyond its ownmeans? James Lowne’s two projects seemto come closest to striving or an answer,even as they wear their digital means ontheir sleeve. Someone behind the doorknocks at irregular intervals is both a portraito contemplation and an inducement to it. As I write, Our relationships will becomeradiant awaits inspection, but I rememberits proposal sketching the eerie incongruityo a conab o (opaque but presumablypowerul) executives within a solitarybuilding inside a nature reserve – a contrastthat conjures all manner o salient thoughtsabout the current ways o the world, rom itstwisted power relations and environmentalsegregation to the moti o separation andisolation that may or may not implicate thebrave new digital world itsel. Could it besel-refexive and more?[1] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolly_zoom
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Three narratives unold together. Inside avast nature reserve sits a solitary building, acaé, where an important meeting is beingheld by executives. Outside in the park, thecollective singular lounge about wearingancy garments. Images are exchanged,participation simulated: the interminablepresent. Meanwhile, the dormant wildlieades away.James Lowne is an artist based in London.He completed a BA in Fine Art at CentralSaint Martins in 2000. Ater this he ocusedon making music in solo projects andcollaboratively with other musicians,recording and occasionally perorminglive. During this period he also continueddrawing as his main artistic practice.He has worked commercially in post-production, learning about editing,computer animation and 3D rendering.James has exhibited drawings as well asanimation and lm in London.Our relationships will become radiant (storyboard), James Lowne
Digitalis Commissions
Our relationshipswill becomeradiant
James Lowne
SynopsisProcess Biography
Images were sourced, then reramed and re-painted onto new backgrounds to developscenes. Characters modelled and animatedin 3D sotware and edited on the computerwith analogue treated ambient sound.
Digitalis: Where did the idea or theflm come rom?
James: It is part o an ongoing explorationo themes that I’m concerned with aroundadvertising and corporate lm - whichuse conventions rom cinema. They havegenerated their own aesthetic over time,now completely mastered into this perectmode o dialogue with the consumers.It is ascinating that you can make some-thing that’s incredibly engaging but emptyo any substance or soul or anything likethat. It’s almost like a complete non-artorm.
So is your flm criticism or a celebration?
I’d say it would have to be both. Becauseit’s a critical celebration!
In your proposal you used the term‘collective singular viewing’..
Well, I write a lot and I like the ree asso-ciation o putting words together when I’mthinking o ideas or i I’m reading. So thecollective singular was just two words thatcame up, with me thinking about how weconsume lots o image based inormationand how as entertainment - traditional en-tertainment, cinematic entertainment – wewould review collectively, and an audienceresponse - a group o people - would bequite important. Whereas now we watchthings on the internet, our iPhones andstu, sort o locked on. But connected tosort o a matrix o other people - becauseyou don’t necessarily eel like you’re onyour own. You eel in some way you mightbe connected with others, as long as it’sactive; as long as your laptop’s on, as longas your iPod is on.
The flm has three narratives strands, yes?
Possibly more. One o the ideas is havingpeople who are connected to a network,with a central mechanism o people whomight be making decisions and might berunning things, but they themselves areall also part o the network. And then therelationship o all o them inside nature.
There was a script on your storyboard,but there’s no dialogue in the flm.
When I write the script, I like to have astory in my head to help me to understandwhat the characters are doing and whythey were doing it. So I’d write down whatthey say. People are speaking in the lmbut you don’t hear what they’re saying.I like that eect.
Has the internet enabled you to de-velop your work?
Yes, deinitely. I like accident and mis-takes. The digital tools o productiondictate its aesthetic and they’re generallyall geared to getting things perect andslick. So I like trying to ind accidentswithin the 3D sotware - not trying toorce or manuacture one, but trying towork in a process that I’m not necessar-ily brilliant. The process allows accidentsto happen and I think they can becomean interesting part o the work, just as inpainting, music or perormance, anythingI guess – you can have accidental occur-rences that become an interesting part othe work.

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