Catching up! Enchanting, sensing and being sensed...
This past year has been a study of Place, informed by studies inspired through the work in Ecopsychology and Enchantivism. (I received certificates in each of those in 2019, from The Retreat, at Pacifica Graduate Institute.) My work as an animation artist has been grounded, quite literally, in the earth, a result of my curiosity about the plant and animal beings connected to the soil, water, or air, not excluding the quiet stones, which sit embedded in the earth. The now unavoidable reality of climate change has been a catalyst for me to consider more deeply my desire to express an embodied experience of the natural world, evoked via animated images.
My studies led to the philosophical grounding of phenomenology, nuanced through the writing of American philosopher and cultural ecologist David Abram, who points to the evolving ideas of Merleau-Ponty as a reawakening of the senses to an embodied experience of the “more-than-human” world. Taking this perspective into the studio -- and the classroom -- offers the opportunity to examine animation as a process of seeing and sensing, of creating, just so, that texture, pattern, movement or moment. Working with light, movement, and metamorphing form, the artist -- and hopefully the viewer -- engages in dialog with the natural world.
This work has been applied in a class, Animating Place, in the department of Kinetic Imaging at VCU, and is the collaborative inspiration for my own practice in animation, video, sound, and written word.
All to say, I HAVE been busy, just not updating my blog! More to come as I progress in the studio.
I've presented this and related work at a few gatherings.
In February 2021, in an online panel built around animation, I presented "The practice of animation as an empathetic seeking and sensing of the more-than-human world" at the Southwest Popular/American Culture Association.
“Falling Back to Earth: engaging the eco-phenomenological aspects of animation” was a continuation of that paper, presented in June 2021at the Society for Animation Studies Annual Conference “Animate Energies”.
Most recently I presented this approach to practice in the curriculum in a paper titled “Animating Place: connecting to place through the process of animation” at the Society for Animation Studies Annual Conference “Animation Unlocked”, hosted by Teesside University, UK. June 29, 2022.
My own work in progress, based on connection to a site that I have been seeking and sensing purposefully for a year was presented in “Sensing Chapel Island; animation as a process of witnessing the ongoing becoming of Place” at the Ecstatic Truth symposium this past spring (2022) hosted in Prague. The theme of the symposium was 'to attend'. "Ecstatic Truth is an annual symposium that explores issues arising from the interface between animation (in all its expanded forms) and documentary (conceptualized very broadly as non-fiction), with a particular interest in the questions raised by experimental and practitioner perspectives. (from the website)."
As evident the work with Chapel Island has evolved - and is evolving - through a series of lectures. The first one that was specific to that work was “ANIMATING PLACE: In Search of Chapel Island” at the SWPACA Conference in Albuquerque, NM, in February of 2022. A broader talk about the trajectory of my work was a few days prior at Texas Tech Landmark Gallery, where I presented a talk titled “Un-settling/Re-membering: the animation of place”.