SAS 2012 — The Animation Machine


The 24th Annual Society for Animation Studies Conference will be held June 25-27, 2012 at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. The Call for Papers notes:

The theme of this year’s conference, ‘The Animation Machine’, reflects the wide range of processes, technologies, histories and structures in animation. As movement is an essential aspect of animation, whatever creates that movement may constitute an animation machine and one could conceive that animation is itself a machine. The animation machine can be considered from both the production process and the end product. Therefore, it refers to the machines of animation presentation, be these pre-20th century animation devices, movie or video screens, or even automata. The animation machine also relates to the multitude of animation production processes – from animating technologies (animation stands, cameras, computers), through to the animator’s individual creative practice. Ultimately, the animation machine can be described quite broadly and we welcome your own interpretations.

With the centenary of Australian animation approaching, the 2012 conference will also provide an opportunity to highlight some of Australia’s animation heritage. The conference will coincide with the Melbourne International Animation Festival (MIAF) and a number of crossover events are planned.

Proposals, which will accepted through December 12th, are invited “on a wide range of animation topics on all aspects of animation history, theory and criticism.” (The Call for Papers can be found here.)

Tomotaka TakahashiThis year’s keynote speakers include: Thomas Lamarre, Professor of East Asian Studies, Art History and author most recently of The Anime Machine: a Media Theory of Animation (University of Minnesota Press, 2009) and Robogarage Co., Ltd. CEO and Research Associate Professor of The University of Tokyo Tomotaka Takahashi who, creates, designs, and invents unique and original humanoids.”

While you’re at it, check out the Society for Animation Studies website here.

SAS Athens 2011

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Charles daCosta (my counterpart at the main campus of the Savannah College of Art and Design) (left) standing with Gan Sheuo Hui (Kyoto Seika University) enjoying the view of Athens during a coffee break opening day of the conference.

SAS Athens 2011 logoThis year’s Society for Animation Studies conference, “The Rise of the Creative Economy: Digital Animation, Visual FXS, and Allied Technologies,” March 18-20, was hosted by the Athens campus of University of Indianapolis, under the guidance of Romana Turina. I was there to present a paper entitled “Television Animation on the Cusp of the American Animation Renaissance,” part of a book I’m writing on the origins of the current animation revival in America. But I, along with many others, were also there for the camaraderie and, of course, to be in Athens. It was a somewhat more modest event than the last two conferences, but it had its own distinctive character. Then, again, as the founder of SAS, I’m a somewhat prejudiced in these matters. In any case, I thought I would take this opportunity to share a few pictures I took.

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Here I am with Mohamed Ghazala (Minia University), Director of ASIFA Egypt, who proudly took part in his country’s recent revolution. He was also happy that Egyptian animator Ihab Shaker was chosen by ASIFA-International to design this year’s International Animation Day poster, the first time someone from Africa or the Arab world has been so honored. ASIFA-Egypt seems be a particularly active chapter and Mohamed also seemed interested in hosting a future SAS conference. (A conference in Egypt seems like a no brainer to me.)

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The ever charismatic Paul Wells  (Loughborough University) in conversation with Marinchevska Nadezhda (Institute for Art Studies, Sofia). Paul’s talk was called “’Let them Eat Sushi!!’—The Seven Deadly Sins of Animation Screenwriting”; he also announced that the first issue of the new journal he’s editing, Animation Practice Process and Production, is finally in galleys. (I have an article in a future issue based on a paper I wrote with my wife, Vickie, for last year’s SAS conference.) Marinchevska, who spoke on “Metamorphosis—Between Mythological Rebirth and Modernity,” last  attended an SAS conference in 1990 at Carleton University, in Ottawa, when her country was still part of the Soviet bloc. Having a conference in Athens certainly made it easier for people like her and Mohamed Ghazala to attend.

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Kirsten Thompson (left) from Wayne State University, who is currently writing a book on Color and Classical Cel Animation. At right is Laura Ivins-Hulley, a doctoral student at Indiana University, who spoke on “Narrowcasting Feminism—MTV’s Daria.

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Javad Khajavi. a graduate student at Tarbiat Modares University, in conversation with David Williams. At the end of last year, Queen Elizabeth II appointed him to “the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire “For services to Media Studies in the North East,” which may very well be a first for someone in animation studies. Javad’s paper was “Codes of Reality, Borders of Illusion: A Social Semiotic Study of Reality in Animated Documentary.”

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Mark Langer (left), Carleton University, Ottawa, spoke on “Walt Disney’s Post-Death Authorship,” with Sheridan College’s Tony Tarantini, who talked about “Pedagogic Integrity: Mediating the Institutional Mandate, Student Expectations and Industry Demands.”

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Ann Owen, of University College Falmouth, who spoke on “Digital Animation and the Accidental Mark” with Charles daCosta who, in lieu of presenting a paper this year, moderated several panels.

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Last but not least, tireless conference organizer Romana Turina, who also took time out to present a paper on “Animation screenwriting—Visual Language and the Translation of Emotions.”

Anyway, I look forward to next year in Melbourne.

Greek Animation Festivals/Conferences

Athens 6th Anifest poster

Forget the financial crisis in Greece, as the country prepares to not only host the 23rd Annual Society for Animation Studies Conference, March 18-20, 2011, but two animation festivals within a month of each other. The first , which is being held in collaboration with the SAS Conference, is the 6th edition of Animfest Athens, March 17-20, put on by the European Animation Center. The festival, which includes “retrospectives, tributes, master classes, speeches, exhibitions and installations,” is still soliciting entries of of short, student and commissioned films until December 31.

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Then there’s the new BE THERE! Corfu Animation Festival, April 7-10, 2011, in Corfu. It is being held in collaboration with Ionian University’s Department of Audio & Visual Art. The festival is accepting entries (short films and graduation films) until January 10, 2011.