David OReilly (IE)

David OReilly (IE), born in 1985, is a filmmaker and artist working in the fields of animation and interactive experiences. Creator of the influential short films Please Say Something and The External World, his animation work has won numerous awards and been the subject of several international retrospectives. He has lectured at Pixar, Harvard, Yale, USC, and CalArts and at many other conferences and festivals around the world. He has written for Adventure Time and South Park, and created fictional video games in Spike Jonze’s Academy Award winning film Her.

Jonathan Yomayuza (US) / Emblematic Group (US)

Jonathan Yomayuza is a VR Technical Director, and while at Emblematic, he has helped deliver multiple VR projects for the Vive, two of which have been screened at Sundance and another that was presented to the United States Congress. With ten years of experience in the video game industry, he has mastered programs like Unity, Unreal, Z-brush which have allowed him to continually push the boundaries of VR within Emblematic Group. Jonathan is also an expert and pioneer in photogrammetry - a revolutionary technique that is paving the way for the VR of the future, and he is the lead designer of this department at Emblematic.

Elliot Woods (UK) / Kimchi and Chips (KR)

Elliot Woods (UK) is a digital media artist from Manchester. He tests possible futures between humans and visual design technologies (e.g. cameras, projectors, computation). Towards this goal, Elliot co-founded Kimchi and Chips, an experimental art studio based in Seoul with Mimi Son. He applies his academic studies in physics to produce sense-able phenomena from abstract systems.

Sabine Hirtes (DE)

Prof. Sabine Hirtes teaches since 2010 at the University of Offenburg Postproduction and Vfx. After graduating in “Visual Communication” at the FH Aachen miscellaneous creative and educational activities in the field of digital print media as well as moving images with a focus on computer animation and Vfx in different companies, studios and schools in Germany and abroad such as the Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg, Cairo Film Institute and the ZKM, Centre for Art and Media, Karlsruhe.

Hamill Industries / Pablo Barquín & Anna Diaz (ES)

Hamill Industries is a Barcelona-based creative studio composed of Pablo Barquín and Anna Diaz. They are directors, makers, mix-media artists and inventors. They have a passion for combining and hybridizing new media and techniques to create unique audiovisual universes and experiences. They do not only work using digital techniques, they also like to work in their workshop with their hands on real materials, developing proprietary tools and motion control systems. Their main motivation is blending tangible and virtual worlds through research into new techniques and technologies. They create and work with all types of formats: music videos, commercials, installations and performances.

Visualizing sound - Listening to images

We will be talking about our creative process and how experimentation and development are a key part of our work. We will explain how breaking away from the limitations of using only digital tools and changing from a desk to a whole workshop has allowed us to apply our vision not only for creating visuals but also designing installations and live performances among other experiments. We will show a series of projects focused on visualizing and representing music and sound. In this talk, we will explore all the technical research and concept development behind these examples to explain, not only how we achieve each result, but also how important it is for us to challenge ourselves by learning new tools. Once we have an idea we don’t want to limit ourselves to a single technique, we strive to find a balance between the concept and the technologies available, combining them  to achieve and visualize the world we imagine.

Lev Manovich (US)

Dr. Lev Manovich is a pioneer in application of data science for analysis of contemporary media culture. Manovich is the author and editor of ten books including Cultural Analytics (forthcoming), Instagram and Contemporary Image, Data Drift, Software Takes Command, Soft Cinema: Navigating the Database and The Language of New Media which was described as "the most suggestive and broad ranging media history since Marshall McLuhan." He was included in the list of "25 People Shaping the Future of Design" in 2013 and the list of "50 Most Interesting People Building the Future" in 2014. Manovich is a Professor of Computer Science at The Graduate Center, CUNY, and a Director of the Cultural Analytics Lab.

Artificial Intelligence and Image Culture

In the original vision of AI (1950s-), the goal was to teach computer to perform a range of cognitive tasks - playing chess, solving mathematical problems, understanding written and spoken language, recognizing content of images, etc. Today, AI (in the form of machine learning) has become a key instrument of modern economies employed to make them more efficient and secure: making decisions on consumer loans, filtering job applications, detecting fraud, and so on.

What has been less obvious is that AI now plays an equally important role in our cultural lives, increasingly automating the realm of the aesthetic. Consider for example image culture. Instagram Explore screen recommends images and videos which we are expected to like. Image apps automatically adjust captured photos according to the norms of "good photography." Other apps "beatify" selfies. Still other apps automatically edit your raw video to create short films in the range of styles. In sports and concerts broadcasts, multiple robotic cameras automatically track moving subjects.

Does this automation necessary leads to decrease in cultural diversity over time? Can we use AI methods and "big cultural data" to quantify and compare diversity and variability in image cultures? In my talk I will discuss selected recent projects from my Cultural Analytics Lab including analysis of 270,000 artworks from Deviantart art sharing network, 7.5 million Instagram images shared in NYC, and 270 million images shared on Twitter around the world over three years.

Raphael Vangelis (UK/AT)

Raphael either spends 3 hours cooking or orders takeout. He is an Animation Director with an arsenal of techniques to crack creatively challenging nuts. For the past five years he worked as a Freelance Director with international clients and is based in London. He has directed commercials for brands like Nike, Hertz and Huawei. His short films Analogue Loaders (2017) and Kangaroos Can't Jump Backwards (2014) have been screened at a variety of international film festivals.

Playing hard makes work easy

How do we not keep repeating ourselves as commercial artists? Is having a successful style a trap? What's the difference between a style and a technique? How does technique influence perception? Is it possible to create original work in advertising?
 Based on a wide range of personal and commercial animation films we will explore strategies on how to keep being an artist while also making a living in animation.

Stephan Schwingeler (DE)

Prof. Stephan Schwingeler teaches game design at the Media Akademie - Hochschule Stuttgart. He is one of the world’s foremost authorities in the field of game studies. His first book entitled “Die Raummaschine” analyses space and perspective in computer games. His second book, “Kunstwerk Computerspiel,” investigates strategies in game art. He heads the GameLab at Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design and has been a consultant to the Next Level Festival and a member of its advisory council. As curator, Schwingeler has been responsible for “ZKM_Gameplay” at ZKM | Center for Art and Media and numerous international exhibitions—for example, “Global Games,” an investigation of games as political media, and “New Gameplay,” a show at the Nam June Paik Art Center in South Korea about the computer game as an art form. Together with the Goethe Institute, he curated the “Games and Politics” exhibition that traveled to 40 countries worldwide. He curated the GameZone at the International Festival of Animated Film in Stuttgart and is currently preparing an exhibition at Ludwigforum in Aachen.

Digital Games as hybrid, artistic material

The digital game has been an established art form for many years. Artists began to explore the specific qualities of digital games around 1995 and have included them as an established material in their artistic practice. The history of digital games as an art form is underrepresented in the heterogenic field of Game Studies and in the traditional field of Art History to the same degree. Artists who use digital games as their material often act as spoilsports, as hackers, and tricksters. The artworks created follow a specific aesthetic that can be described as Countergaming. Artists develop alternative drafts of established video games as cultural products. They intend to make aware how video games are constructed. Their apparatus-based, medial and coded conditionality is clearly unmasked in this process.

Stefan Srb (AT)

Stefan “leafthief” Srb has been making games since 2011. After studying Digital Arts at the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria he joined Viennese game development studio Mi’pu’mi Games, working on titles like “Hitman HD: Trilogy”, “Anno: Build and Empire” and most recently the independently published “The Lion’s Song”. Stefan also creates his own, character-driven, narrative games and has spoken about game development at the A MAZE Berlin, Quo Vadis and Develop Brighton.

Hearing the Lion's Song

“The Lion’s Song” is an episodic, narrative game set in early 20th century Austria in which players experience the creative processes and struggles of four creators. This talk will dive into the creation process of “The Lion’s Song” and give insight into its themes, aesthetics and creative choices. Stefan will highlight how the use of pixel art in a reduced colour palette was used to create a feeling for the time-period, how it furthered the themes and helped the team stay coherent.

Job, Joris & Marieke (NL)

Job, Joris & Marieke is a Dutch studio for animation, illustration, character design and music. Their work can be described as cute, funny, poetic and sometimes disturbing. The studio was founded in 2007 in Utrecht by Job Roggeveen, Joris Oprins and Marieke Blaauw. They work on short films and on commercials, educational projects and music videos. They are best known for their short animation film A Single Life. A Single Life was nominated for the 87th Academy Awards® in 2015. Unfortunately Disney won their Oscar. Since then A Single Life has been screened at more than 200 festivals and it has been awarded with 40 prizes. In 2013 they released their cute yet disturbing animated short MUTE. MUTE has won 14 international awards, amongst which the Grand Prix and Audience award on the Holland Animation Film Festival. In 2015 their poetic film (Otto) had its premiere at the TIFF festival in Canada, and went on to win 9 international awards. (Otto) was nominated for a Banff Rockie Award, at the Banff World Media Festival. Their latest film Heads Together premiered in 2016 at the Cinekid festival in Amsterdam, and won the Grand Prize at the New York International Children’s Film Festival. In 2016 they also released their first childrens’s book: Who is Causing Havoc

How not to win an oscar

Job, Joris & Marieke is an animation studio from the Netherlands. In 2015 their short film A Single Life was nominated for the Oscar for best animated short. In their presentation they’ll give a look behind the scenes of their short films and music videos. They will share anecdotes, show makings offs and extra bonus material. Next to that they will also focus on two projects that were created with a 3d printer. They’ll talk about the challenges they faced with this new medium and the technical issues they overcame. By the end of this presentation you will know exactly what an injured toe, an imaginary duckling and Waterloo by Abba have to do with the work of Job, Joris & Marieke!

Martina Stiftinger (UK/AT)

Martina Stiftinger is an illustrator and art director based in London, with a love for minimalistic style and strong concepts. She graduated from FH-Hagenberg and Kunstuniversität Linz in Austria. Her work is primarily based in the field of advertising and commercials. She shaped her style by working for top design studios in NYC and London. Currently she works at the motion design studio ManvsMachine in London.

Visual thinking

How can we create sticking communication? The answer is quite simple - Visual Storytelling. Creating smart images which represent an idea right away. Working in advertising means developing those kinds of visual stories for big brands. How can you find the right visual for the right project? The design process is basically always kind of a puzzle - figuring out smart visual expressions, developing a convincing idea to represent a product. Usually lots of different factors are involved. What are some strategies to solve that puzzle? What makes a visual powerful? In which way is personal work affected by that kind of thinking?

Nikita Diakur (RU/DE)

Nikita Diakur is a Russian-born film maker based in Mainz, Germany. He studied Animation at the Royal College of Art in London, where he produced “Fly on the Window” that went on to screen at numerous international film festivals. Nikita is now making short films influenced by prominent internet stories and animated via the process of computer simulation. His latest project “Ugly” has been featured on Canal+, Cartoon Brew, Inverse and earned Special and Honorary Mentions at Animafest Zagreb and Ars Electronica.

Interactive Animation and Ugly Aesthetics

Traditional computer animation is non-linear. The animator tweaks and adjusts everything by going back and forth between different states of the animation. Thus, he is in control of the outcome. Contrary, when simulating, the animator gives up control by outsourcing several tasks to the computer. The computer executes these tasks based on calculations and outputs a linear simulation result. The animator interacts with the computer and is in control only to a certain degree. Animating like this feels like real-life filmmaking: Similar to a real actor, the computer follows the action set by the animator and produces results that are unexpected, realistic, broken and personal. Accordingly, the focus shifts from outcome to process. The animator is left with the challenge to find the right balance between staying in control and leaving room for randomness.

onformative / Cedric Kiefer

onformative is a Berlin-based studio for digital art and design. Founded in 2010 by Julia Laub and Cedric Kiefer, the studio constantly searches for new forms of creative expression. Observations of their surroundings inspire them to explore the possibilities that lie between analog and digital fields to examine the relationship of humans and technology. They develop innovative projects across media that range from digital art installations and generative design to dynamic visuals and data-driven narratives. Their broad client base includes work for Nike, IBM, Google, Dolby Labs and more. Through an interdisciplinary and collaborative practice, the visual language of onformative is variable.

Dancing with the datasets

The thresholds of art, design and technology make way for vast experimental possibilities. Blurring the lines between these mediums creates a challenging perspective to examine the relationship between humans and technology. Using different technologies onformative constantly search for new ways of creative expression. From animations to installations, onformative will talk about the background and inspiration behind some of their latest projects. Following a versatile approach to the creative process, onformative will share their philosophy and credo through the collaborative and interdisciplinary practice of the studio and explain their way of working.

Max Hattler (DE/HK)

German new media artist Max Hattler works primarily with abstract animation, video installation and audiovisual performance. His work explores relationships between abstraction and figuration, aesthetics and politics, sound and image, and precision and improvisation. Max studied at Goldsmiths and the Royal College of Art, and holds a Doctorate in Fine Art from the University of East London. His work has been presented around the world, such as at Beijing Minsheng Museum, Sonar Hong Kong, Filmfest Dresden, MoCA Taipei, and Exploratorium San Francisco. Awards include Third Culture Film Festival, Bradford Animation Festival, and several Visual Music Awards. He has performed live around the world, including at Playgrounds Festival, Seoul Museum of Art, EXPO Milano and the European Media Art Festival. Max has been on the jury of over 25 festivals including Animafest Zagreb, CutOut Fest Mexico, Punto y Raya Festival, Filmwinter Stuttgart, and Tehran International Animation Festival. He is an Assistant Professor at the School of Creative Media at City University of Hong Kong. 

Broken Visions in Stereo

Animation aspiring to cinematic realism has embraced stereoscopy and the 3-dimensional depth it creates. Abstract animation however often favours 2D flatness, which obfuscates spatial relations and thereby underlines the effects of abstraction. Can stereoscopic vision be subverted, and employed in the service of an alternate reality, an expanded abstraction? Can traditional notions of 3D be disrupted to create impossible spaces?

Protip: The Deep Space 8K screening Max Hattler: Expanded Abstractions includes a stereoscopic projection of Hattler’s III=III (2016), which explores ideas discussed in this presentation.