Ways we know

Movement and dance have been used to understand ourselves in the world, our relationships with each other and with the environment. Movement analyst Rudolf Laban (1879-1958) developed the idea of a human Movement Choir in 1919, where dancers moved as a united body – one voice. Hanny Exiner (? – 2007) used the Movement Choir within her Sphere of Human Movement, a teaching framework she developed for integrating a dancer’s internal, social and external landscapes. Psychotherapist Denis Kelynak, who worked extensively with Exiner, has worked with clients to experience themselves as herds of creatures. In a score developed for this work, each person moves as a different creature, yet is part of the herd. Participants develop a heightened awareness of self, other and environment.

Drawing and animation have been used to respond to and articulate observations and experiences. Animator Tim Webb used drawing and animation for working with autistic people, to make the film, A is for Austism (1992). Drawing and animating with a group of gifted autistic people, he learned something of their internal and external landscapes. With their voices, drawings and animations, he developed a film that reflects something of their world, reflecting his understanding.

Art and science can reveal patterns observed and experienced in the natural world. Artists and scientists aim to communicate their understandings as clearly as possible. Building on existing knowledge, they work by trial and error, improvising with materials at hand to find the clear solution. Karin Beaumont’s wearable art reflects her knowledge as a scientist. As a marine biologist of the Antarctic, she understands deeply how climate change threatens its life-forms. Moved to provide them with a voice, and to transmit the fact of our human connection with them, she shapes marine life forms to physically connect with ours – as jewelery. Hers is a lucid solution, embodying scientific knowledge in art.

In this research, human movement, drawing, and animation are being used to respond to what scientists, artists, and other expeditioners are telling us about Antarctic’s changing landscape. Gestures and images made by a group of artists and dancers, are forms of visual listening that reveal many perspectives from which Antarctic landscape can imaginatively be mapped and communicated.

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More trouble with WordPress!

Three Comments posted here last week have vanished. These were messages between myself and the animator Tim Webb.

I asked him to clarify which drawings had already been made, and which were produced specially for the film. I wanted to know whether he was working with a storyboard, or allowed the drawings to suggest a line of thought.

I also asked him to explain more of the process involved in working collaboratively with the young artists.

I commented that the drawings were naive, and the the animation was sophisticated, and that I found that combination quite engaging.

Tim Emailed me another comment, which I am placing here:

Dear Lisa
Your link no longer has the questions in, to clarify what i remember

The opening scene of animation – a chronology of childrens drawing from scribbles to sophistication based on a Lorna Self book as i remember and maybe a series of slides i saw – were based on a series of drawing made in workshops in schools I did with various aged kids- I simply asked them to draw themselves.

All the other animation in the film was based on existing drawing from 5 different artists- some still drawing others not. That is all except: 1 sequence of Daniels which was ‘worksop’, a siding I took him to, to draw from life- a remarkable sequence. The other drawing done by Daniel especially for the film was the end credits. I was the only person working with Daniel on his animation- he did all the animation for his sequence and myself or Ron MacRae slowed down his drawing ie inbetweened in London.

Most of the train drawings were Daniel’s, though some were made by Darren White( not his real name )his drawing has a different style. I do not feel the drawings naive as they are quite accurate representations of the trains nuts a bolts etc and in good perspective, Daniel was 9 when i made the film. Some of Darren’s drawings of the underground were done when his was 6 as i remember, he was a young adult when i made the film.

hope this clears things up

best tim

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5 Replies to “Ways we know”

  1. Dear Tim,

    How delighted I was to receive your message, after all that trouble!

    I really don’t know what happened to the Comments that were there.

    I have pasted your last message in the body of the Post:

    http://www.antarcticanimation.com/content/wordpress/2008/04/30/we-can-see-hear-move-and-know/

    Thank you for clarifying the content and the nature of the collaboration.

    The other question was, did you work from a storyboard? O did you allow
    the drawings to suggest lines of thought (for sound concepts for example)? Or was it some loose combination of both?

    The train animations are so literal, whilst you film makes loose connections, through visual alliterations, and sound overlaps. I’m thinking of the piano note inferring a car horn. The same sound can mean something different heard with different imagery.

    I can see how the detailed observations of the trains is quite sophisticated. So I concede they are not naive.

    Your experience working with Daniel on the ‘Worsop’ siding piece must have been interesting. Watching trains together, watching how they them moved, watching him draw them, and then in-betweening those drawings. I can only imagine what it might have be like, to connect with his thinking through drawing.

    Thank you Tim

  2. The other question was, did you work from a storyboard?
    A. probably some loose connection. There was a commissioned storyboard but my arrangement with the great Clare Kitson allowed a free approach where she was open to changes. There was a loose structure and ideas transferred through to the film – but other happened in the editing room. The initial film storyboard included expert comment and parents comment and Dr Neil O’Connor suggested to make the film from the voice of the autistic community. It was a good idea I knicked.

    Ill answer the others later as ive got to go now.

  3. Thanks, Tim, for persisting with my Log questions, and this technology.

    I now have a much better idea of the process that went into the film’s making.

    I remember when we first met, in 2006, at the RCA, you told me about that idea, of making the film “from the voices of the autistic community.”

    One of my friends, early on in my thinking about how to know Antarctica through my arts practice, who suggested something similar. She suggested I find ways for the voices of the people working there to be heard.

    When I saw your film, I could see that you had given voice to a community of people whose perceptions of their world are, like those of Antarctic workers, generally unseen, and unknown.

    Meeting you, and hearing about how you came to know something of the landscape of an autistic community has been very helpful in my finding ways to know an Antarctic landscape,

    Thank you. You have given me plenty to think about.

    After losing your previous comments, I realise the importance of backing these up in other ways. I am going to cut and paste all the relevant comments into my referencing tool, Jabref. This is a tool like Endnote, where you can enter references you want to evoke when you come to write Papers and a Thesis. I use a Linux operating system, so things are always a bit different.

    There is always more to learn!

  4. Another problem with the new version of WordPress is that I can no longer Edit my comments, so there are bound to be more grammatical errors! I like to be able to edit. It helps me think. Like editing a film, or re-working a painting, you get to know more through the making process.

  5. The train animations are so literal, whilst you film makes loose connections, through visual alliterations, and sound overlaps. I’m thinking of the piano note inferring a car horn. The same sound can mean something different heard with different imagery.

    A. This idea came about in the Edit it seemed to work.

    Your experience working with Daniel on the ‘Worsop’ siding piece must have been interesting. Watching trains together, watching how they them moved, watching him draw them, and then in-betweening those drawings. I can only imagine what it might have be like, to connect with his thinking through drawing.
    A. Daniel chose to go to Worksop siding – we could view the siding from the back of a Tesco’s car park. There was only one point of view of the siding. Daniel did his first drawing . I asked him if he could draw the siding as if he was sitting on the building on the other side of the siding. Amazingly he did this with ease. I got this idea from exercise Dr Neil O’Connor did with amazing autistic artist like Stephen Wiltshire and Daniel. I asked Daniel if he could draw another drawing from another point of view from as if from the top of another building and he again did this. He did about 30 drawings and the birds eye view he did without prompting.
    What was amazing about this sequence was not only Daniels ease at drawing a sequence of key drawings which traveled around the siding all drawn from one point of view but when we started imbetweening the sequence Daniel had also recorded a period of time- so trains passing left to right had all been included. Amazing.

    tim

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Posted on Wednesday, April 30th, 2008