Vienna Animation Festivals

It has been busy week in the cinemas of Vienna on animation.
Last Sunday I went to the cinema to see the Viennese chapter of the Siggraph Animation Festival. The Sigggraph conference is perhaps the biggest one on computer generated graphics and animation worldwide. First I was surprised by the mixture of things: there were animated shorts as well as animated advertising and technical or scientific studies like the development of vortexes, for example. This may be caused by the idea of the conference and that is okay, I just didn’t expect so.
It was more a cinematic event for technic freaks, I guess. The rendering was fine and the surfaces were wonderful, as you may expect. But if there was a story, and if there had been non-abstract animation, it wasn’t nice to see for a trained eye. They didn’t care about details, and I was surprised that they had been taken into such a fetival programme.

I can’t really judge about the abstract things where christals and cubes are moving and morphing to some kind of asian R’n’B music. But I’ve got the weird impression that I’ve seen dozens of those before with tiny variations… The technical aspect was so much more important than the story or the world created by the animatiors that I got very annoyed watching it. I’m still angry with those people who had obviously a nice idea and then pressed it into a mold which didin’t suit. Just to do cool computer generated things… And I don’t understand the judgement of the Siggraph jury who had chosen those films as the créme de la creme of computer animation… I’ve seen much better computer generated films, and much more interesting films as well. But I’m an optimistic person, I always have an eye on the good things, too. Some good examples had been Professor Knoll’s computer class which was well done and funny and well animated. It was made by Matthias Parchettka (German website) from Düsseldorf. Two other very good examples were Our wonderful nature about the sexual life of a water shrew (youtube link) and My little Angel by Flurry Studios. The first one is about a watershrew and it’s made similar to the nature documentaries. I have laughed a lot. The second one was very simple, but well done and funny as well. One of the technical things which had impressed me much is called Simulating knitted clothes at the yarn level made by some guys from the Cornell University. And I really was impressed and amused and felt all the work which were put into that…

On Thursday then there was the an One Day Animation Festival organisid by the Asifa Austria.
The first block contained short films from the AURORA Festival Norwich, UK. The programme is called Unfamiliar countries, impossible structures and it was a kind of Best Of from the festival in 2007. There had been some narrative animations and some abstract, too. I sometimes have big problems with the abstract things, especially when they’re just boring. Most of them want to bring the audience to another level of understanding of the reality or of theirselfes. But they had been just boring, most of the time. One of them made me nearly fall asleep… Some of the examples were cut so fast, you and your eyes can’t follow without getting a headache. The pictures were made on a high contrast. It wasn’t disturbing which I would say is a good thing with film but annoying because your body IS biologically determined. My favourites from this block are Kraina Cieni by Thomasz Glodek and Krypt by Lars Nagler because of their style, Radar by Volker Schreiner and Going nowhere fast by J Tobias Anderson because they were all interesting and disturbing and well done. Especially the last one is the very best from this compilation, I think. It combines abstract things as well as narrative parts. It’s well animated, but I’m not sure if rotoskoped. But here it doesn’t matter so much because it all fits well together.

The highlights from the second block are Cutecutecute by Clemens Kogler (Flash animation) and Eintritt zum Paradies um 3€20 (drawn animation) by Edith Stauber. The second block was on new animation from Austria and it was interesting to see what people do in my temporary country. Finally, Jörg Pieringer did a live animation performance which was interesting to see. He started from some prepared and static animation (it’s a contradiction, isn’t it?) and by adding sound and his voice in a life performance he made the letters move instantly. I’ve never seen something like that before, but I think it’s a difference between the performance and what we normally call animation. Because the magic with animation is that we can’t see the person manipulating things…

I’m not really sure about the meaning of the word abstract but I always thought an abstract thing would be a sign or symbol which is not the presentation of something physical. An idea is abstract, for example. Mathematic is abstract or how a computer generelly works (well, I’m not sure if this is a good example). Art is not nessecarily abstract but it always is a bit. A photograph itself, although it looks very concrete, is an abstraction of the reality because you would see a three dimensional situation on a two dimensional surface. I think music perhaps is the most abstract art form because it’s so independent from anything else and concrete. It has its own system and symbols and will create new pictures and moods to everyone newly. But music also has its climaxes and ups and downs and changes of speed or volume…

I think our biological limitations are so important to the perception of arts. All our senses are getting tired after a while if there is a steadily teasing. And if our senses were tired they wouldn’t react on what’s a kind of normal or usual. If something should stay interesting there should be changes in whatever way. Back to the abstract CG animation I had seen, this means that they can’t set new impulses to the viewer because he would have been fallen asleep before the message has arrived… I think it was Chaplin who said that the only limitation cinema has is dullness, which is strictly forbidden…

02. November 2008 by Jessica
Categories: Stuff | Tags: , | Comments Off on Vienna Animation Festivals