‘I see you’: agency and empathy in animation

Buchan, Suzanne (2015) ‘I see you’: agency and empathy in animation. In: Life Remade: The Politics and Aesthetics of Animation, Simulation and Rendering, 5-6 Jun 2015, Birkbeck London, UK. . [Conference or Workshop Item]


My contribution focuses on a range of works from the exhibition Animated Wonderworlds I’m co-curating with Andres Janser that opens at the Museum of Design Zurich this coming September. I concentrated on what I consider central issues in the mainly contemporary production, distribution and reception of a heterogeneous selection of mostly digital, often non-narrative animation, from data visualisation and interactive apps, to art, games, science and consumer culture. It is a thematic and conceptual, rather than historical, stylistic or artist-based exhibition.

As a public exhibition, we want to offer visitors an opportunity to explore and enjoy a curatorial concept with a main framework of the human at its core. Lofty as this may sound, the central aim is to enlighten the public about the origins and development of animation they encounter in increasingly diverse locations, audience constituencies, distribution channels and screens. There’s also another agenda: I hope that when they leave the exhibition, they will reflect on how pervasive and ubiquitous animation is in their everyday lives.

Curating the Animated Wonderworlds exhibition is part of a larger research programme that, simply put, explores how, and why, we respond to certain kinds of animation. This symposium invitation is an opportunity to start pulling together some diverse thoughts and approaches I’ve been working on over the years that are coalescing now that the exhibition is almost ready.

I begin with elements of the Animated Wonderworlds curation process, reflecting on the roles and relations of agency, style and aesthetics in our choices, and in the making and consuming of specific works, and how they in turn evoke engagement, empathy (and maybe ethical responsibility). This includes a few theoretical and conceptual frameworks I’m finding useful to answer these questions.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Additional Information: Peer reviewed invited talk/paper
Keywords (uncontrolled): animation aesthetics, ethics, empathy, agency
Research Areas: A. > School of Art and Design > Visual Arts > Electronic and Digital Arts cluster
Item ID: 18403
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Suzanne Buchan
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2015 10:12
Last Modified: 25 Jul 2018 12:03
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/18403

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