I’ve written about the the process of making Hysteria for the academic journal Animation Practice, Process & Production and I’m thrilled that an image from the film has been chosen for the volume’s front cover.
Hysteria: An autoethnographic reflection on making an animated documentary film from archive material
This paper investigates the process of collection, interpretation and modification in the making of an experimental animated documentary film. In 2001, I made a two-minute film, Hysteria, as a first year project on the master’s animation course at the Royal College of Art. Given as a starting point the word ‘bedlam’, I researched the history of mental healthcare and discovered documentation of medical practices in the late 1800s of clitoridectomy and genital massage as a ‘cure’ for the condition of hysteria.
Making the film was a singular, insular journey – a stream-of-consciousness voyage of discovery: uncovering and collating material and then interpreting it through visual experimentation. Key to my process was use of a sketchbook that became a space for montage: juxtaposing material from contemporary sources against archive documents and incorporating research material into my visual experiments.
Using autoethnographic writing, I return to the state of mind that produced this film – asking how and why it came to exist – and through audio reflection I re-read the sketchbook to analyse the processes of drawing, annotating and editing which produced it. In doing so, I attempt to understand the intuitive process of interpretation, and to draw out insights which can inform my future practice.
Very happy to say that I’ll be presenting work-in-progress on new animated documentary film ‘CFFH’ at the Society for Animation Studies annual conference from 17-21 June 2019.
This project returns to material produced in development of a film 20 years ago, examining the archive of sketchbooks, scripts and artwork which articulate the experience of losing my dad to alcoholism. For the first time I will be using autoethnography consciously within the film-making process (rather than as a tool for reflection on previous work), as a means by which the ‘me now’ can interact with the ‘me then’.
At University of Creative Arts, Farnham, Herein will be screened in a programme of shorts as part of this conference, 13 Feb 2019. Tickets are free! Book here
“Experimental and Expanded Animation discusses developments and continuities in experimental animation that have proliferated in the context of expanded cinema, performance and live ‘making’ and are today exhibited in galleries, public sites and online.
Through presentations, dialogue, screenings and performances, the conference builds upon the recent publication: Experimental and Expanded Animation: Current Perspectives & New Directions, edited by Nicky Hamlyn and Vicky Smith.”