3: Re-Animated Life

Consider the meaning of the word Animation
1. the state of being full of life or vigor; liveliness.
2. the technique of photographing successive drawings or positions of puppets or models to create an illusion of movement when the movie is shown as a sequence.
Your assignment is to create a moving image work that re-animates something that is dead. Starting from actual, preserved specimens at the Museum of Biological Diversity on campus you will find inspiration, then you will use your strategies as a moving image artist to re-animate and re-present the world of the once-living specimen. Consider highlighting connections your specimen has to history, ecology, humans, and other organisms. As an artist, you can use powerful tools that are not available to scientists in the same way, such as: humor, irony, fantasy, play, and emotion. Your work can be considered an “Artistic interpretation”, which allows for great freedom of expression and possibilities.
The finished artworks will be considered for publication on the blog of the Museum of Biological Diversity http://u.osu.edu/biomuseum/ This will be decided by the collection curators and will not affect your grade on this project. I will use our usual class artwork grading rubric that calls for equal parts of Creativity, Concept, Craft and Composition.
Part 1:  Visit the Museum of Biological Diversity to learn about specimens in their collections. They have collections of preserved insects http://osuc.osu.edu/info.html (Links to an external site.) ; fishes https://fish-division.osu.edu/; and tetrapods (this includes amphibians, reptiles, birds or mammals) https://tetrapods.osu.edu/. Start by visiting their websites to determine the collection you’d like to visit, then we will go to the museum and you can focus on the collection and specimens you are interested in. Bring your recording devices, cameras, pens, pencils, paper. Also consider the methodologies of Mark Dion: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-Nzo0foijI and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vCvsK_Etajo
Part 2: Experiment with ways to create moving images that make things interesting, visible and relatable. Your role as an artist will be to use techniques of animation, video, effects, rotoscoping, masking, etc., to reframe and re-represent the specimens in ways that help your viewers see them in a different light.
Part 3: Complete a moving image artwork. The final composition should be rendered at FULL HD 1920 x 1080 square pixels. Running time should be between 1 and 3 minutes.
Related artists and projects:
  • Stan Brakhage Mothlight 1963 -Camera-less filmmaking, a re-animating of dead objects, turned into images. After spending some time following live moths with a camera, an exercise that proved fruitless, Brakhage instead turned his attention towards using dead moths: “Over the lightbulbs there’s all these dead moth wings, and I … hate that. Such a sadness; there must surely be something to do with that. I tenderly picked them out and start pasting them onto a strip of film, to try to… give them life again, to animate them again, to try to put them into some sort of life through the motion picture machine.”

Student Work: