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    Speculative animation: digital projections of urban past and future

    Mckim, Joel (2017) Speculative animation: digital projections of urban past and future. Animation 12 (3), pp. 287-305. ISSN 1746-8477.

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    This paper will explore the growing presence of digital animation within the work of contemporary visual artists, architects and designers concerned with urban geography. More precisely, it will examine how the use of digital animation has become a primary method for both envisioning alternative urban futures and reconstructing the traumatic past within socially and politically engaged work. In the context of urban speculation, digital animation has most often been used as a tool for visualizing large-scale, capital-intensive development plans. This is an animated future consisting of digital visualizations of high-end real-estate and populated by affluent, happy, racially homogeneous render ghosts. Alternatively, artists and designers have begun to employ similar software tools and digital animation techniques in order to re-potentialize the productive powers of the speculative. The paper will focus on four examples, two past and two future-oriented. The work of Eyal Weizman and the Forensic Architecture project has increasingly involved the use of digital animation techniques to both reconstruct and visualize key dates or events within moments of humanitarian crisis. In the Rafah: Black Friday case study, for example, digital animation and 3D modelling are used to reconstruct and present key events in a particularly intense four days of bombing during the 2014 Israeli military offensive in Gaza. The conceptual artist Stan Douglas has recently, and uncharacteristically, adopted digital animation and gaming technologies in his Circa 1948 collaboration with the NFB. The interactive app recreates a largely overlooked element of Vancouver’s past, the historical slum area of Hogan's Alley, notorious for its bootlegging, gambling and prostitution. The “speculative architect” Liam Young has been employing digital animation techniques to present urban scenarios that teeter between the utopian and dystopian. And finally, the artist Larissa Sansour merges live action and digital animation to visually depict bleak and disturbingly convincing Palestinian futures.


    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Creative Arts, Culture and Communication
    Research Centres and Institutes: Vasari Research Centre for Art and Technology
    Depositing User: Joel McKim
    Date Deposited: 03 Jul 2017 09:46
    Last Modified: 09 Aug 2023 12:42


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