Time Structured by Marks

writing in progress

It strikes me that animation is usually associated with story. And that art is usually associated with communicating an experience or sensation. So what happens when they mix - aside from an initially confused animation audience looking for a storyline and instead being faced with an artist’s effort to communicate just a feeling or a sensation.

As I mentioned in Motion Made Visible, with static drawings and paintings, I find myself leisurely reading the single image in depth for meaning. Watching animation however, with the imagery flying by at 24 frames a second, I find myself reading a form's motion for clues to what's going on. Do these two very different ways of reading impact our sense of time differently?

If, as Robert Greenberg has defined it, music is time structured by sound*, then I define animation and art as time structured by marks.

In Giacomo Balla's The Hand of the Violinist (1912 ) the artist uses a V shaped matte to frame the illusion of reverbrating violin strings. The mirrored diagonals of this window generate a feeling of tension (as diagonals do), but the geometric form of this window also generates a feeling more closely related to narrative - that we're somehow peering through a suit jacket, or necktie.

*Robert Greenberg, Understanding the Fundamentals of Music, The Great Courses, 2007

Giacomo Balla The Hand of the Violinist (1912 )