2016-2017, 19th April, Week 1

Over the Easter holiday, I have worked on some additional sketches for animations. I feel that the the time I have to complete a brand new film is not possible. I shall instead add additional footage to “Mind’s Palace” to give it further interpretations.


Birds in a tree, A4, March 2017

For each sketch, I recorded myself drawing them. Among the sketches I did, I drew two landscapes of a pond and trees – which I might turn into an animations of birds flying away. I also drew a sitting self-portrait – which I might turn into animation of someone fidgeting. I also did several nudes which became progressively erotic. I am not sure yet what I will do with these sketches.

I would still like to use my idea from last term of the artist trying to find a subject which captivates him, and I think “Mind’s palace” is open enough to embed that additional interpretation into the film.


2016-2017, 23rd March, Week 11

I have decided for the narrative of my next film for my final assessment on the artistic struggle for ‘inspiration,’ ‘a subject matter’ and questions about how to achieve ‘originality’ and ‘identity’ through work. The film will follow a painter about to start work on a painting. They initially don’t know what to paint and so begin sketching to come up with ideas, but every time they create a drawing, the sketch animates in such a way to show the character’s frustration.

Ideas so far for features in film

  • The artist sketches a scene with birds, and then the birds fly away, suggesting the scene is not captivating enough for the artist, or their is not enough content for the artist to take inspiration from.
  • The artist then tries sketching a sitter, but the sitter in the drawing keeps fidgeting which frustrates the artist too much.
  • The artist attempts to drink, and draws a bottle and glass of wine, but with each sip, their drawing becomes more abstract, suggesting the artist is becoming too intoxicated to see the glass or bottle, or can hardly hold the pencil.

What I intend for this film is to show the frustration and struggle for an art student who seeks to try and find their own style of creating work which is truly original. As of yet I do not know what painting or lesson the artist will learn towards the end of the film. In a sense I am dealing with the very problems my own character is going to face. I suppose in a way this makes the project all the more true and that like the character, I will have to simply experiment with what I have so far and see what inspiration I discover towards the end.

What I want to avoid is for this film to be overly romantic, playing on mythology of artists such as Van Gough, or Francis Bacon who put everything they have into their art, but at the same time I do want to create a film which reflects the genuine troubles art students can face when they feel lost about their art practice and do not know how to progress it.

2016-2017, 17th March, Week 10

Over the week I produced another oil painting from one of my sketches used for my animation. I like this overall image because in terms of composition it works, it shows motion in an unusual but intriguing way which reminds me of one of Duchamp’s last cubism piece”Nudes descending a staircase no 2.” I like this association because Ducmamp’s painting was produced  some time before he renounced painting completely, and so the piece feels like a reflection that painting can still progress.


Ascending, descending, reascending, 24×30, Oil on Canvas

As well as producing this painting, I have been thinking about narratives I would like to work on for next term as a continuation from my “Mind’s Palace” animation.

Idea one is an animation specifically on the philosophical theory of teleology, the butterfly effect and William Paley’s analogy of watch.

What I have in mind for this animation is a watchmaker who designs a watch which he drops by accident on a foot path in the woods or a forest. He spokes a butterfly by chance, resulting in the insect flapping its wings causing a leaf to fall from a tree, this leads to a knock on effect in which a caterpillar is eaten, a baby bird is eaten and the creature which has eaten the bird is flying in the wind (possibly causes by the butterflies flaps) which draw the attention of a passer by to the watch that was dropped earlier.

The video doesn’t suggest that there definitely is design in the universe, nor does it dis-confirm the existence of design, but it the film is based on the principle ideas of teleology; that there is an apparent design to the universe just as there is in a watch created by a designer.

My second idea is about a series of painters, each painting a picture with another picture inside, and in each picture another animation opens with another artist experimenting with painting, drawing, techniques and genres. This narrative is about the artistic and, trial and error procedure. It is about an artist trying to find what process of creating art most suits them and interests them. What I intend to show in this animation is an artist who tries one method of art such as figurative art, it doesn’t suit him, he gets frustrated and so in his painting, another artist (possibly himself) works in a different style and so on and so forth, I do not want the film to suggest there is a definite style of art which is superior, what I want is to suggest to reflect the frustrating process some artists may have of trying to find their art style, which to a certain extent identifies them as an artist, just as Monet became seen as Monet for him impressionist style and his paintings of lillies, or Picasso became known as Picasso for his cubism.

What would be interesting is if I can include the question within the video “does this search for a style turn the artist’s practice into a production or fashion line?” and “does this reduce the value of the art?” or “does the style of the art maketh of the artists or the artist maketh the art?”

Which of these ideas I will proceed to work on, I have yet to decide. They are both interesting projects with great imagery I can work with, but they have very different theme’s. One is a philosophical inquiry, but is it really an inquiry or simply an analogy of a philosophical idea? The other is more of a romantic story of an artist’s struggle to find his art style, but is this a cliched, idealistic idea of an art practice, or is there a genuine struggle within this idea which any creative person can relate to?


2016-2017, 10th March, Week 9

After completing my animation “Minds Palace” I looked back on the sketches I produced for the animation, and attempted to repaint these sketches as oil paintings, because I found the various overlaying of motion on top of each other created interesting images in themselves.

For a final exhibition, I am wondering if I might be able to reincorporate oil painting into my practice. For instance I have thought about creating an animation on a canvas and possibly projecting the animation on top of the painting for the show.


Moving-face, 24 x 30, Oil on canvas

I have also had thoughts about creating another animation, so I am trying to think of another story line which will be the right platform for philosophical ideas, because I feel one of the reasons “Mind’s Palace” was a success was the story line of an animated making animations was really open and allowed me to use different kinds of animations which don’t logically follow on one after the other.
What I think this story line should be however, I am not sure. I think perhaps I should try to focus on a specific philosopher’s work, as oppossed to multiple philosophers. And create a single animation about a particular idea, such as Sartre’s philosophy in “Nausea,” or Camus’s “Fall.”

I am also trying to take the materiality into consideration and think how I might possibly expand upon it, such as using paint on canvas, such as in the trailer for the upcoming film “Loving Vincent” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47h6pQ6StCk. Or explore 3d materials like clay, as Jan Svankmajer used in his films.


Pixilated side project, 32 x 40, Oil on canvas

As well as thinking about my studio practice, I have been looking back at my old work from Manchester when I explored pixilation used by Chuck Close. I sourced for images and found an image of Chuck Berry for a side project of the musician.

I like have multiple projects as a way of keeping my work fresh and makes extensive work in a particular style or material easier, because then it doesn’t feel as laborious or dull. Where this painting might lead me I do not know, but what I enjoy the most of this style of painting, is it very cleverly examines how perception works and can be used as an interesting metaphor for distance can alter the interpretation of an image, which still relates to my studio project, but in a very different way.

2016-2017, 3rd March, Week 8

On the 27th February, I set up my animation on a video reel along with five other students.

The benefits of collaborating with other students, is it has allowed all students to show their work despite the limitations of space and equipment. However, there was technical difficulty with the different types of videos on the reel. Some films would not play, because the USB reader, was programmed to read some videos but not all of them. There was also two files on the memory stick which could not be played which meant the films couldn’t be played on a loop, without first clicking “skip video” which repeatedly appeared throughout the show. My own video froze at the beginning, and when it restarted, the audio and film did not synchronize together.

I think in the future, instead of groups of people putting all their films on a loop, students should schedule and book the lecture theater to play their individual films at specific times for everyone to watch, rather than playing them all on a loop, or all students who want to put their video’s on a single memory stick and projector, should meet to ensure that all videos are the same to avoid technical problems.

During the group crit on the 28th February, my film received mainly positive comments and a lot of my peers came to interpretations of the film close to what I had intended. They saw it as a narrative about a man who is exploring philsophical analogies he knows about existence and knowledge, and tries to process these thoughts through an animation which he struggles to complete – which in itself in an analogy of him coming to any conclusion about what he knows for certain.

Some people criticized the font used throughout the film, because they felt it wasn’t aesthetically appealing or suitable for the film, and recommended I look for other fonts. One person criticized the use of sound effects, throughout the film, saying it was too distracting. However, someone else counter balanced this argument saying the sound effects such as the door opening and the sound of walking had given the animation more depth and complimented the animation that was shown.

One tutor suggested for future projects, I look at Jan Svankmajer (who I have mentioned in the past) and consider turning the film footage of myself, into an animation with individual photographs.

2016-2017, 23 rd February, Week 7

Finished my animation for next week’s studio exhibition.

I thought very carefully about how I structured and put the animation together. It opens first with an animation of someone walking into a cinema to watch a film, and the film he watches opens with a surreal dream sequence. In this sequence I reused my initial experiments into motion, because it seemed like a waste not to try and include these, and the use of a dream made a perfect format for including them. In addition I included an animation of rorschach ink blots, so that the audience could psychologically interpret the sequence and see it as a dream.

I also included two new animations of an apple floating out of a barrel – which is a reference to the Cartesian practice of going through knowledge and trying to find what can be seen as certain (trying to distinguish which apple is rotten and which is fine to eat), and an animation of an apple’s skin being pealed away, as a reference to David Hume’s Bundle theory (that everything that exists is only made of properties, rather than some form of an apple).

The animation then breaks off to footage of a figure (played by myself) waking up, to suggest the animation before was all a dream. This is also linked to Descartes question about how we can tell we are awake from asleep.

The man then proceeds to creating an animation of a figure locked within a building opening various doors which are linked to philosophical ideas by Bertrand Russell, Wittgenstain,  John Locke and Schrodinger’s cat.

For this reason, I did the sequence of the man waking up and drawing the animation as film footage, to create a distinction between the animation and the animator creating it.



The film then ends with the animator ending his animation, going to sleep and the video ends back with the initial character in the cinema, walking out of the cinema. This was inspired by Duan Michal’s photo sequences which create a loop. Each photo in the sequence follows on from the previous photo, and the last photo in the sequence refers back to the first photo in the sequence creating a loop.


Duan Michal’s Photo Sequence. 

The question that is asked then within my film is: is the viewer watching a man going to the cinema to watch the animator creating an animation, or is it an animator dreaming about a man in a cinema watching a film of the animator at work?

There is no clear obvious answer, and what I hope is that that’s what the animator concludes himself when he finished his animation. That certainty about anything is such a complex thing to acquire.

For monday, when I install this video, I shall be playing the film along with other video artists such as Anna Pashkin, because of the restrictions on the number of projectors available to students and because of the limitations of space in the studio.

2016-2017, 3rd February,Week 4

After the comments mentioned in the previous meeting, I decided to try and find a specific narrative to explore the connection of “pictures” and “words”, or “motion” and “thought.”

I felt the theme of this narrative had to tackle epistemic/existential challenges, where the central character questions the very basis of his/her knowledge and what they can know to be fact from what they see and hear.

I began to look into philosophical analogies, which try to explain complicated theoretical ideas used a simplified example of the same principle. The particular analogies I looked into were analogies which commented on the extent or limits of what we know, such as Schrodinger’s Cat analogy, about a cat imagined as being enclosed in a box with a radioactive source and a poison that will be released when the source (unpredictably) emits radiation, the cat being considered (according to quantum mechanics) to be simultaneously both dead and alive until the box is opened and the cat observed.

I don’t want these animations to just be seen as illustrations of complicated ideas though, I want them to appear as both simplistic and gripping animations in themselves which show technical skills.

In the short animation of Schrodinger’s cat, I experimented with Premiere Pro’s animated software, and played with opacity of two animations over one another to express the notion of two possible scenarios going on possibly simultaneously. I also changed my methods of photographing the slides with scanning each individual slide, so that the animation appeared less jumpy and more fluent.

Bertrand Russell’s Tea Pot

As well as Schrodinger’s Cat, I thought about analogies Russell’s teapot, sometimes called the celestial teapot or cosmic teapot,  which is an analogy, coined by the philosopher Bertrand Russell (1872–1970), to illustrate that the philosophic burden of proof lies upon a person making scientifically unfalsifiable claims, rather than shifting the burden of disproof to others. Russell specifically applied his analogy in the context of religion.He wrote that if he were to assert, without offering proof, that a teapot orbits the Sun somewhere in space between the Earth and Mars, he could not expect anyone to believe him solely because his assertion could not be proven wrong.

I then added my own spin on this analogy, and placed God into the scene of a Tea pot floating in space and grabbing it. The point being that these two both occupy the same sphere of thought. This was a somewhat more satirical use of a theory, but it doesn’t remove any weight to the premise. In this particular animation. I experimented with the use of cut-up pieces of paper on top of each other for each scanned slide. This gave the piece a kind of Monty Python feel to the animation. This could be argued as a bit cliched or derogatory towards both religion and towards Bertrand Russell, but the Monty Python’s in their own way did address interesting ideas about how we reason, argue and they made a lot of references to philosophy in a way which made it compelling. I will have to see how the piece comes out in the end when I put it into premiere pro.

I have also considered as other analogies to use for an overall animation:

Is there a rhinoceros in the room? – which is a discussion between Bertrand Russell and Ludwig Wittgenstein about whether there was a rhinoceros in their room. Apparently, when Wittgenstein ‘refused to admit that it was certain that there was not a rhinoceros in the room,’ Russell half-jokingly looked underneath the desks to prove it. But to no avail. ‘My German engineer, I think, is a fool,’ concluded Russell. ‘He thinks nothing empirical is knowable-I asked him to admit that there was not a rhinoceros in the room, but he wouldn’t.’
The crux of the dispute appears to be a thesis held by Wittgenstein at the time concerning ‘asserted propositions.’ According to Russell, Wittgenstein maintained that ‘there is nothing in the world except asserted propositions’ and refused ‘to admit the existence of anything except asserted propositions.’

For this analogy, or example of a philosophical premise, I plan to have the central character of my animation to be oblivious to the passing of a rhinoceros behind him.

David Hume’s Bundle theory – Originated by the 18th century Scottish philosopher David Hume, is the ontological theory about objecthood in which an object consists only of a collection (bundle) of properties, relations or tropes. According to bundle theory, an object consists of its properties and nothing more: thus neither can there be an object without properties nor can one even conceive of such an object; for example, bundle theory claims that thinking of an apple compels one also to think of its colour, its shape, the fact that it is a kind of fruit, its cells, its taste, or at least one other of its properties. Thus, the theory asserts that the apple is no more than the collection of its properties. In particular, there is no substance in which the properties are inherent. To prove his point, Hume posed the challenge to anyone to trying to imagine an object without any properties.

For this analogy, I would like to create an animation in which a solid object such as an apple (or any kind of fruit, e.g. banana, orange) has it’s peal removed and beneath it lies nothing, suggesting that beneath every object, there exist only the surface empirical properties and no essence.

Evil Demon –  The evil demon, also known as evil genius, and occasionally as malicious demon or genius malignus, is a concept in Cartesian philosophy. In his 1641 Meditations on First Philosophy, René Descartes hypothesized the existence of an evil demon, a personification who is “as clever and deceitful as he is powerful, who has directed his entire effort to misleading me.” The evil demon presents a complete illusion of an external world, including other minds, to Descartes’ senses, where there is no such external world in existence. The evil demon also presents to Descartes’ senses a complete illusion of his own body, including all bodily sensations.

For this analogy, I have thought of a demon puppeteer, pulling the strings of a human puppet, to suggest that whatever control the character thinks they possess is imagined. As a theory, Descarte concluded that whatever malignus demon capable of tricking us, the one thing he was certain of was the fact he could think and was conscious, then he non the less must exist, because it would not be possible for a demon to trick a non conscious being to believing their conscious.

Why I want to address philosophical analogies and why I think these are still relevant, is because they address concerns at the very core of existence. Often I personally am struck by questions as to whether I even exist, how much of what I know is real and when I see on the news of extreme religious groups, the question is raised what justification is there for anyone to act upon their beliefs, whether secularist or theologian.