Deviations and Anomalies at the Intersection of Art and Technology

The reciprocity between art and technology plays a central role in media arts and computer animation in particular [1]. The first basic form of this interaction can be found in the targeted use of technology to develop specialized applications. A second form of this occurs when technological innovations serve as a source of inspiration for new and experimental approaches, leading to their refinement, modification and an extended range of utilization. The boundaries separating these two strategies are typically blurred, similar to the borders between art, research and science. The artist is a researcher and vice-versa; both make use of and develop technologies.

What is the link between art, technology and animation? Animation – particularly computer animation – has strong ties to technology. The first computer animation was the product of a research project, providing a simulation of a satellite orbiting a planet [2]. This was followed by a number of other milestones that strived to further develop computer animation. The first artistic use of computer animation involved the repurposing of military equipment and can thus be considered an anomaly of an established technology. John Whitney, Sr. and his brother James modified the controls of warplanes and combined these with cameras to produce his first computer animations [3]. War machines became an artist’s animation toolset.

The subversive use of technology in computer animation has been a prevalent theme ever since, relying on deviations, anomalies and a deliberate exploitation of flaws. The forms of play and experimentation with animation and technology can be quite diverse: animation can be of a reflective nature and specifically address its own substance and materiality as a theme, or it can be extended by technologies that are truly foreign to the field of animation. Animation software and tools can be modified or utilized in unintended ways, such as when motion capture data is not used for characters, but is instead applied to abstract forms, or when the flaws or artifacts created by established technologies are intentionally exposed and put on display.

[1] Technē – Was Kunst und Technologie verbindet
[2] Franke, Herbert W. 1971. Computergraphik Computerkunst. München: Bruckmann. S. 94ff


Speakers Expanded Animation 2015: Alex Verhaest (BE) | Pascal Floerks (DE) | Mihai Grecu (RO/HU) | Erick Oh (KR) | Sebastian Buerkner (GB) | Anezka Sebek (ID) | Romain Tardy (FR) | Ina Conradi (US/SG) | Mark Chavez (US) | Devine Lu Linvega (CA)

Expanded Animation is a collaboration between the Hagenberg Campus of the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria, the Ars Electronica Festival and Central Linz, organized by: Jeremiah Diephuis, Jürgen Hagler, Michael Lankes, Patrick Proier, Christoph Schaufler, Alexander Wilhelm / University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria, Hagenberg Campus | Department Digital Media