Close Up

3 March 2018: Bend Me, Shape Me: The Animated Body


Though all forms of animation push and pull at anatomical correctness, artists working with animation have explored its potential to morph, transform and bend the body in ways that have wide-ranging and sometimes unexpected implications. This screening features work from the last five decades which explores how through representing bodies – or specifically their own bodies – artists exploit animation’s remove from reality to comment on very real subjects, including sexuality, gender, violence and trauma, in ways that can variously provoke, titillate and horrify.

Curated and introduced by Herb Shellenberger for the Edge of Frame Weekend 2018.

Naomi Uman
1999 | 7 min | Colour | 16mm

“Using a piece of found European porn from the 1970s, nail polish and bleach, this film creates a new pornography, one in which the woman exists only as a hole, an empty, animated space.” – Canyon Cinema

Field of Green: A Soldier’s Animated Sketchbook
Sky David
2007 | 8 min | Colour | Digital

A hand drawn animation developed between 2000 and 2007, Field of Green was based on drawings made by Sky David (formerly known as Dennis Pies) during his tours in the United States Army during the Vietnam War between 1967 and 1970. The documentary animation relives these events and re-enacts the major metal and bodily traumas that they caused, mixing animation with video footage and body motion.

Lisa Crafts
1979 | 4 min | Colour | Digital

“It came from 1979! A paranoid tale of the myths and misconceptions surrounding body changes in adolescence. Found footage with hand drawn flourishes. In full 16mm punk-era unrestored decrepitude! Made in one week. Sound by Ground Zero, Boston.” – Lisa Crafts

Pussy Pumps Up
Antoinette Starkiewicz
1979 | 7 min | Colour | Digital

“In a wry exploration of women’s sexuality, the character Pussy demonstrates the play between the masculine and the feminine, the strong and the passive, the observer and the observed, as she metamorphoses between female, feline and male figures. As the film demonstrates, animation is a form ideally suited to render the process of metamorphosis.” – Dr. Marian Quigley

Seed Reel
Mary Beams
1975 | 4 min | Colour | 16mm

Seed Reel plays out like a three-part gag. Though the film is introduced as “seed images for coming films,” its content suggests that it is a reel of seedy sketches. Title cards introduce each section: “Lick and Sniff,” “Hungry Poem” and the unambiguously-named “Twelve Dancing Penises.”

Renata Gasiorowska
2015 | 8 min | Colour | Digital

A young girl spends the evening alone at home. She decides to have some sweet solo pleasure session, but not everything goes according to plan.

Peter Rose
1991 | 4 min | Colour | Digital

Genesis recounts a true story about embodiment "told" using voice synthesis and animation display on a MacIntosh computer. This is a very unsettling work that raises questions about technology, virtual communication, ethics, and psychology.

Reifying Desire 6: Island of Treasure
Jacolby Satterwhite
2014 | 24 min | Colour | Digital

Jacolby Satterwhite’s Reifying Desire series represents a collaboration between the artist and his mother by way of his repurposing of her text and drawings, many intended as proposed home shopping network products. The drawings are rendered into 3D virtual space, forming the backbone of linked metanarratives that touch upon personal history, pop culture, utopia, and queering the ordinary. The artist himself shares these virtual environments, often green-screened in through dance performance.” – EAI

Herb Shellenberger has curated screenings at institutions such as Irish Film Institute, Light Industry (Brooklyn), Lightbox Film Center (Philadelphia), LUX (London), New York University and Tate Modern (London). Since 2016, he has been Associate Programmer for Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival (Berwick-upon-Tweed, UK). His film series “Independent Frames: American Experimental Animation in the 1970s + 1980s” is touring internationally. He is co-programmer (with Almudena Escobar López) of COMMON VISIONS, a winter 2018 film series focusing on collaborative practices in non-fiction film and media for the Flaherty Seminar at Anthology Film Archives, New York.

Part of the Edge of Frame Weekend 2018, a three-day celebration of experimental animation screenings and discussion curated by Edwin Rostron (Edge of Frame), taking place across London at BFI Southbank, Barbican and Close-Up. Supported by Jerwood Charitable Foundation, Royal College of Art, and using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

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