Twisted Dreams of History. Subversiveness and Deformation in Animated Film from V4 Countries
Academic conference on Animated Film
Bielsko-Biała, Poland: 11. - 13. 09. 2015
[conference profile below]
Promotion of the publication “Obsession. Perversion. Rebellion. Twisted Dreams of Central European Animation” edited by Olga and Michał Bobrowski
Bielsko-Biała: 25. 02. 2016 /Thursday/, 4:30 p.m., Galeria Bielska BWA, ul. 3 Maja 11
Kraków: 29. 02. 2016 /Monday/, 7:30 p.m., DKF Magazyn Kultury, ul. Józefa 17
Collective volume "Obsession. Perversion. Rebellion. Twisted Dreams of Central European Animation” consists of the articles dedicated to the subversive and suppressed motifs present in auteur animated films from Visegrad countries and Italy. The authors – among them Marcin Giżycki (Animator Festival; Rhode Island School of Design, USA), Bogusław Zmudziński (Etiuda&Anima IFF; AGH), Guo Chunning (Renmin University, Beijing), Denis Viren (National Institute of Arts, Moscow), Paola Bristot (Academy of Fine Arts, Venice) – examine the artistic works in the contexts of Central European politics and societies, they also investigate careers of particular artists from the region. The papers written by Polish or Czech authors dialogue with the output of the scholars from Italy, Russia or China. Joint reflection of the diverse group of the scholars outlines the landscape of animated film, an art that engaging both, the senses and the intellect. The authors draw readers' attention to several issues, among them to the question of the powerless of Polish animated satire; resemblance of animated documentary medium in the framework of both New Chinese School of Animation and contemporary Polish and Czech productions; intertextual relations between animated westerns and live-action cinema of Sergio Leone or Sam Peckinpah; artistic personalities of Jan Švankmajer, Zdzisław Kudła, or Alexander Sroczyński.
Auteur animated film may seem as “niche within niche”, a hermetic cultural phenomenon available only for the limited group of enthusiasts. The authors of the publication indicate how falsely such statement appear. The animated films present in the festival circuit or published in various DVD collections reveal the richness and diversity of narratives that question social status quo, historical canon established by the critiques, modes of perception of contemporary animation that frequently overlaps with the field of interactive, intermedia art. The history and the critique of animated film is inevitably connected with film cultural activism aimed at promotion of artistic animation. It is not a surprise that the scholars dedicated to the subject of animation often become the filmmakers or the organizers of the cultural events. Personal experiences of the authors who contribute to the Krakow scene of animation (Wiola Sowa, Robert Sowa, Bogusław Zmudziński) complement this academic volume with the essays portraying trends and tendencies of contemporary Polish animation art.
The book was written in English language however the articles examining Italian animation are published in Italian language additionally.
After the promotional meetings the audience is welcome to enjoy film programme: works made by the authors of the articles (Marcin Giżycki, Guo Chunning, Wiola Sowa, Robert Sowa) will be presented in Bielsko-Biała; films from the 5th edition of Polish/Slovenian festival of stop motion animation, StopTrik IFF, will be presented in Krakow (full programme on facebook).
The Authors: Marcin Giżycki, Olga Bobrowska, Chunning Guo, Bogusław Zmudziński, Jiri Nedela, Michał Bobrowski, Denis Viren, Stefan Bielański, Paola Bristot, Andrea Martignoni, Giuseppe Sedia, Martyna Olszowska, Wiola Sowa, Robert Sowa.
How can I get a copy of the book?
The publication is distributed for free. Anyone interested in getting a copy of the book shall write to the address firstname.lastname@example.org with the request (the ordering party will be asked to provide costs of delivery). This form of the distribution will start after the promotional meeting in Bielsko-Biała. The book is available at the academic libraries, book cafes, cultural spots and in the festival circuit.
Publisher: Galeria Bielska BWA.
The publication is financed by: International Visegrad Fund (project Twisted Dreams of History. Subversiveness and Deformation in Animated Film from V4 Countries), Instiute of Political Science of Pedagogical University of Kraków (Faculty of Humanities), Italian Cultural Institute in Kraków.
From the review of Prof. Andrzej Pitrus (Jagiellonian University):
This publication will be a valuable contribution to the bookshelf of every admirer of artistic, auteur animated film. Though it may seem that this phenomenon constitutes “a niche of niche”, the popularity of animation events indicates that there exists a large group of its enthusiasts, and it is a particularly demanding audience. Animation buffs not only wish to watch a lot but also they strive to find facts and knowledge on their preferable artists. (…) I believe that this volume will not become yet another artificial product for it has an opportunity to invigorate the interest of both animated film aficionados and scholars dedicated to this field of cinema.
From the review of Prof. Paweł Sitkiewicz (University of Gdańsk):
The volume is a relevant title among scholarly writing on the cinema for at least two reasons. The researchers of animated film habitually focus on American production of purely commercial and blockbuster character (…), yet the book edited by Olga and Michał Bobrowski is devoted to artistic, independent animation, realized in the frames of national cinematographies of Central and West Europe. More than that, the authors of this collective work examine films that are engaging, philosophical and provocative, works that challenge the condition of contemporary men.
Conference Press Release available here:
International Academic Conference on Animated Film
Galeria Bielska BWA, ul. 3 Maja 11, 43-300, Bielsko-Biała, Poland
Academic patron: Mediterraneum The International Center for Studies and Research (Pedagogical University in Krakow)
Organizers: Bielska Gallery BWA (Bielsko-Biała) in partnership with Pastiche Filmz (Olomouc), Anca NGO (Bratislava), MANIFESZT – Professional & Interest Association of Hungarian Makers of Animated Films (Budapest) and Italian Cultural Institute in Krakow
Conference Committee: Prof. dr hab. Alicja Helman (Jagiellonian University, Krakow); Prof. dr hab. Marcin Giżycki (Rhode Island School of Design; Katowice School of Technology), Prof. Paola Brsitot (Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna); dr hab. Stefan Bielański, prof. UP (Pedagogical University of Krakow); dr hab. Rafał Syska (Jagiellonian University, Krakow); Bogusław Zmudziński, Ph.D (AGH University of Science and Technology); Brigitta Iványi-Bitter, Ph.D. (Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design, Budapest); Ugo Rufino, Ph.D. (Italian Cultural Institute in Krakow); Michał Bobrowski, Ph.D. (Jagiellonian University, Krakow)
Passive participants can be provided with confirmation of attendance on the condition of participating in all conference panels
Project supported by International Visegrad Fund
All the events are free of charge
Lectures will be held in English and Polish, presence of the translator (English/Polish) is provided
Animated film screenings with Polish subtitles
In his influential lecture “Philosophy and Post-Modern Culture” Rick Roderick makes an inspiring remark on a margin of deliberations on Sigmund Freud’s theory of 'self'. Roderick argues that what he calls mass simulational or telecommunication culture may be described as “psychoanalysis in reverse”, or “enlightenment in reverse gear”. In other words, if the goal of psychoanalysis is to broaden the scope of consciousness into the oblivion of the unconscious, the ultimate objective of mass culture is to anesthetize the anguish of critical reflection and to sink the masses into the void of collective vacuity. Roderick refers to mainstream culture of postmodern capitalism, but his observation is equally adequate as a description of the official culture of 20th and 21st century authoritarian states. In contrast to typical manifestations of culture subjugated to political powers, the kind of cultural creation that could be described by adjectives like “subversive”, “insubordinate” or “discontent” both on social and individual plain leans heavily towards threads and motives censored from the dominant discourse due to existence of various social, political or economical taboos. The researchers are invited to ponder over the subjects that have always been swept under the rug of the mainstream culture.
The dialectical tension between interweaving and mutually conditioned notions of architecture of individual 'self' on the one hand, and forces that drive social processes on the other, belongs to the most compelling subjects of modern and postmodern humanities. Faithful successors as well as fierce critics of Marx and Freud (just to mention Erich Fromm, Jacques Lacan, Michel Foucault or Paul Ricoeur) explored the dark abyss of solipsism in a quest for a key to understanding the grand intersubjectivity of global politics. However, the discursive reflection of intellectuals would have been nothing but an empty shell if it had not been complemented by artists' intuitive attempts to transcend the ancient maze of myths and dogmas that structure individual psyche, determine social mechanisms, and in some cases trigger historical cataclysms. In the course of 20th century, the medium of animated film has become specialized in portraying the dissident realm of intimate obsessions, obscure perversions and mighty rebellions – motives which have always been stirring wheels of censorship and propaganda as well as sponsorship and media interest. Closely linked to the conceptions of psychoanalysis and ideological critique, those key themes inspired the avant-garde movements of 1920s and 1960s, but also Eastern European filmmakers who challenged oppressive systems, as well as contemporary authors of conceptual, intermedia works.
THE THEMATIC RANGE OF THE CONFERENCE
The presentations ought to be dedicated to animated film from V4 countries (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia).
The main subject will be complemented with the special panel devoted to Italian animated and experimental film.
Subjects listed below should be treated as exemplary standpoints for speakers, an invitation for further mapping of distinctive features of animated film from V4 countries.
History and politics of the region mirrored in animated film (cultural heritage of Austro-Hungarian Empire, World Wars and their influences, communist regimes and the Cold War, democratic transformations, tradition of liberation movements and threat of nationalisms, etc.).
"Artistic contraband" now and then (propaganda and censorship; animation in communist countries, animation and capitalism, etc.).
Subversivness and deformation with style and aesthetics.
Avant-garde, modernist tendencies and their legacy (absurd and grotesque; intermedia; experimental animation etc.)
Animated film as a medium of obsession, perversion, or rebellion.
Authorial subjectivity in animated film.
Psychoanalysis in reflection on animated film.
Categories of "suppression", "sublimation" or "counter-culture" in animation.
Limits of perception – surreal and rational factors that determine animated film reception.
Dangerous minds of animated film – provocateurs, visionaries and jokers.