Texas Tech University

Animation as Art: A Multi-sensory Experience

March 23 – Summer 2024

Bird Flock (2015) by Lienors TorreBird Flock (2015) by Lienors Torre (Australia)

On March 23, the exhibition Animation as Art: A Multi-sensory Experience will open at the Museum of Texas Tech University. The exhibition gathers the work of more than 30 renowned national and international animators and showcases animation as a contemporary artistic medium that— beyond its concern with movement and time— reflects on the nature of objects, new approaches to materiality, and spectators' multi-sensory, embodied experience.

Animation is a pervasive presence in our digitized contemporary world. As a cross-disciplinary artistic practice, animation has traditionally used techniques associated with the plastic arts (sculpture, drawing, painting, design) to create films. The exhibition at the Museum of TTU concentrates on the work of experimental animators, a field of practice that goes beyond the cinematic instantiations of the media as it encompasses devices conceived to create the illusion of movement before the invention of the film camera. These devices are creatively used by contemporary artists influenced by theories on materiality and embodiment for the creation of works of art that explore the relation of movement to time and the agency of the body for the creation of actual movement or as a visual illusion.

Historias Residuales (2022) by Sara AlvarezHistorias Residuales (Waste Stories) (2022) by Sara Alvarez (Spain). Photograph of pre-cinematic material

The exhibition will screen artists' animations together with the objects used as props and characters, which will give the public the opportunity to appreciate the material and tactile phases of the animation processes and highlight the relationship of animation with both the plastic arts and everyday objects. Moreover, the selection will showcase devices that produce animated images that are not traditionally registered on film and are inspired in XIX century mutoscopes, zoetropes, flipbooks, and phenakistoscopes. In this way, the exhibition demonstrates contemporary artists' interest in exploring notions of movement/time.

Three of the works—proposed by UT Dallas undergraduate students—were based on pieces in the museum collections, an already well-tested approach for fostering the artistic revitalization of museum holdings. In addition, a selection of phenakistoscope discs and a corresponding digital animation based on their images were created in a virtual exchange project that partnered students from the School of Arts, Humanities, and Technology at UT Dallas with students from the LUCA Arts School in Brussels. Exhibiting moving image arts in the museum is a challenging endeavor that requires the collaboration of experienced and dedicated museographers such as those in the TTU Museum team, which is closely connected with the exhibition curators. Several of the works in Animation as Art: A Multi-sensory Experience have never been exhibited in the USA before, making this a unique opportunity to experience and discover such unique artworks.

“3D printed Silhouette Zoetrope: Butterflies” (2024) by Christine Veras3D printed Silhouette Zoetrope: Butterflies (2024) by Christine Veras (Brazil/USA)

The exhibition will be accompanied by a strong community outreach program consisting of three lectures and six workshops by renowned national and international practitioners and specialists in animation studies. These activities will be free and open to public of all ages.

The exhibition is co-curated by two TTU faculty from the School of Art, Talkington College of Visual and Performing Art: Drs. Jorgelina Orfila, (Art History) and Francisco Ortega (Graphic Design) together with Dr. Christine Veras, (Assistant Professor of Animation and Director of the experimenta.l. lab at UT Dallas) this will be the first exhibition on animation showcased at the TTU Museum.

 

This exhibit is correlated with a series of workshops and lectures running from April to June 2024.

◦ Christine Veras — Animated Experimentations (March 20)
◦ Steve Woloshen — Cameraless Animation (April 5 & 6)
◦ Kevin Sandler — Toy Industry and Cartoon Animation (April 11)
◦ Aldo Raul Murillo Zúñiga — Phonotrope Animation (May)
◦ Sandee Chamberlain — Claymation (May)
◦ Scott Meador — Demo in interactive digital art installations (June)

 

Support for the exhibition comes from the Society of Animation Studies, the School of Art at TTU, the Harry W. Bass Jr. School of Arts, Humanities, and Technology at the University of Texas at Dallas, J.T. & Margaret Talkington College of Visual and Performing Arts, experimenta.l. Animation Lab at UTDallas, the Art History Area in the Texas Tech University School of Art; and the Ryla T. & John F. Lott Endowment for Excellence in the Visual Arts, administered through the TTU School of Art.