2 August 2011

Animate Blog Moving..

We're not going to be blogging here anymore..we're going to be blogging at Animate Projects Observer instead. Please go check it out.

And of course..keep track of us through..

animateprojects.org for films, interviews, essays, news

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APEngine closing

APEngine was an online journal project produced by Animate Projects. A space for debate and discussion across the area of moving image practice from a range of perspectives and a place in which to encounter and engage with different creative and critical ideas.

APEngine launched at onedotzero‘s Adventures in Motion September 2009 and was Media Partner to AURORA 2009 in November. It was produced by Animate Projects – a UK-based, not-for-profit arts organisation, developing initiatives that explore the relationship between art and animation, and the place of animation and its concepts in contemporary art practice for exhibition in the gallery, cinema and online.

The project and online platform has been a huge success in accomplishing its initial aims. It has been home to some fantastic discussions on a range of topics around the animation and moving image sector. With over 500 posts in its 17 month duration, highlights include The Truth of Illusion – A critical insight into animation documentary and theory by Samantha Moore, A structure for Possible films by Ajay RS Hothi and Army of YouTube Rosemany Heather. APEngine received a steady 2,500 visitors per month and reached up to 6,000 visitors on particular months within its duration.

APEngine has been the platform for interesting conversation and engagement, highlighting posts include George Clark talks to Anjalika The Otolith Group and interviews with David Jacques and Kiron Hussain.

Further writers for APEngine have included the likes of Adam Pugh, Tim Shore, Edwin Rostron and John A Riley.

APEngine was the platform for the outcome films of the project Rough Machines an Animate Projects commission from open proposals for animators to produce new work. All films premiered on APEngine in November 2010 with great reception. The films have gone on to be included in offline exhibitions, festivals and biennials and are also available through iTunes.

APEngine as an online resource has also provided updates of relevant news, reviews, exhibition openings and opportunities around the area of animation and moving image.

All feature posts can be downloaded as a pdf and Animate Projects is proud to keep APEngine live online for use as an archive website.

Animate Projects would like to thank all writers, interviewees, artists and readers for producing content and engaging within this to create an interesting community around the sector of moving image and animation through the online journal of APEngine.

APEngine was supported by the UK Film Council’s Publications Fund.

14 June 2011

Arts Council England says animation and animators will be supported through its National Portfolio

As we’ve mentioned before, Arts Council England rejected our application to be one of its National Portfolio Organisations because it was decided that Animate Projects did not fit into a “balanced portfolio”. NPO status would have meant core support for three years from April 2012, and would have enabled us to produce around 50 new works and exhibited over 150 experimental works online.

We have since asked Arts Council England, through their ‘complaints’ procedure, about their understanding of our work and of animation as an artform. And we asked Alan Davey, their Chief Executive, about comments he made on The Guardian’s Culture Cuts blog - “Animation is included in the funding decisions we announced yesterday. Yes, it's right that there is no single body dedicated to this work but galleries we fund, and moving image companies such as Film London, Lux and Film and Video Umbrella cover animation as part of their work.”

We said we did not agree with this statement because it confuses animation as a technique with animation as a pervasive artform with a distinct and substantial community of practice. We also outlined how the organisations he cited don’t work with the broad range of people that Animate Projects work with, eg those who may have commercial practice, or work in the creative industries; people who call themselves animators or filmmakers or graphic designers or ceramicists, and who have a range of different histories, traditions, contexts, and practice, and who reach different audiences with their art.

We reminded Arts Council England that Animate Projects is the only cultural organisation of its kind in the world and of the messages of support we have received about the detrimental impact that their decision will have on an entire community of practice.

We asked where there would be support of animation through the Portfolio, and how “the best mix of organisations..in terms of artform” could exclude animation.

Alan said he stands by his comments, and assures us that, whilst Animate won't be an NPO, animation and animators “will have opportunities to be supported through national portfolio organisations...the work of all national portfolio organisations is still being negotiated and the full context will become clearer later in the year.”

At Animate Projects we are now focusing on delivering our 2011 exhibition programme - including the first Animate OPEN, and the forthcoming Digitalis Commissions, supported by the Jerwood Charitable Foundation - and pursuing alternatives to Arts Council support so that we can continue to champion experimental animation.

Thanks again to everyone who has expressed support and sent encouraging messages over the past few months.

9 June 2011

Animate OPEN Digitalis: deadline approaching

The deadline for submission is fast approaching – there’s one week left to apply, all entries must be sent by 10am Monday 20 June. It’s our first exhibition selected from an open call.

Animate OPEN Digitalis is for complete works by UK-based artists, animators and filmmakers, produced since January 2009. We are looking for works that - in a broad sense - explore, question, subvert or confound our expectations of art and the ‘digital’. Or which might be ‘anti’ the digital, emphasising the handmade, physically crafted.
A Jury will select up to ten films for exhibition and there will be two cash prizes - one awarded by the Jury (£1000), and an Audience Prize (£300), open to a public vote. Each artist included in the exhibition will be paid a £100 fee.

Entry to Animate OPEN: Digitalis is free.

Guidelines and how to submit

19 May 2011

Animate OPEN: Digitalis

Image: Digitalis © Sebastian Buerkner

Animate OPEN: Digitalis
A fresh open for experiments in animation

Animate Projects - the champion of experimental animation – announces a call for its first online exhibition to be selected from an open submission.
The Animate OPEN is part of Digitalis, a strand of activities throughout 2011 that sets out to explore, question, subvert or confound our expectations of art and the ‘digital’. And that includes ‘anti-digital’ - handmade, physically crafted animation.

Call for submissions deadline: 20 June 2011
Exhibition online: from July 2011
Jury Prize: £1000
Audience Prize: £300
Guidelines: animateprojects.org/opportunities
Entry: free of charge

For the Animate OPEN, Animate Projects is looking for experimental works by UK based artists, animators and filmmakers. The selected films will be presented online at animateprojects.org, from July 2011, accompanied by interviews with the artists. The films will also be featured in the Digitalis publication and at Digitalis events later in the year. Gary Thomas, Director of Animate Projects says: “We hope that the inaugural Animate OPEN will prove to be a platform bursting with experiment, to inspire and provoke discussions around creativity and the digital. And we are looking forward to discovering some awe inspiring stuff.”

The Animate OPEN Jury will select up to ten films for exhibition and there will be two cash prizes - one awarded by the Jury (£1000), and an Audience prize (£300) voted for by visitors to the exhibition.

The Jury members are Francesca Gavin, writer, curator and Visual Arts Editor at Dazed & Confused; Rebecca Shatwell, Director, AV Festival; Gary Thomas, Director, Animate Projects; and artist and music video director, David Wilson.

The Animate OPEN is supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

Submission guidelines

Deadline for submissions: 10am, Monday 20 June 2011

The Animate OPEN exhibition will be online from July at

Animate OPEN: Digitalis press release

If you have any further questions please email digitalis@animateproject.org

8 April 2011

#CUJOPRIMITIVE twitter competition winners

Earlier in March we put together a competition to mark the UK DVD release of Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives.

A grand prize of three copies of the Primitive issue of CUJO of which only 1000 copies have been published were up for grabs, quite the treat!

We asked you to tell us three famous people or animals you would like to have been in your past lives. Here are our favourite and winning tweeters entries…

BrickVanDee @AnimateProjects A white stoat, Ferdinand Cheval, Alla Nazimova #CUJOPRIMITIVE

PawelitoCom Hirundo Rustica, Jean Jacques-Rousseau, Μέδουσα #CUJOPRIMITIVE

caffeinatedmatt #CUJOPRIMITIVE If karma has nothing to do with it (because damn, I'd be in for it): Herodotus, Genghis Khan's horse, and Ho Chi Minh.

If you didn’t win and feel a bit sad then not to worry because you can purchase the DVD here
Uncle Boonmee.. and CUJO PRIMITIVE are part of the PRIMITIVE projects, as are the short films Phantoms of Nabua (which you can see here) and A Letter to Uncle Boonmee (see it here)

Lovely prizes to be delivered shortly, a big thanks to all who entered. You can follow @AnimateEngine and @AnimateProjects on twitter to keep an eye out for the next big give away!

31 March 2011

de-animation - Arts Council England's new Portfolio

Arts Council England’s head honcho Alan Davey was answering questions on The Guardian’s Culture Cuts blog this lunchtime, so we took the opportunity to ask why they’d decided, apparently, to exclude an entire artform - animation - from their new ‘Portfolio’ of funded organisations.

Apparently we were wrong - animation is there, Alan said. There are ‘galleries and moving image companies such as Film London (FLAMIN), Lux and Film and Video Umbrella cover animation as part of their work.’

[I think it’s worth noticing the use of the term ‘companies’. It’s what performing arts organisations call themselves.]

Alan, or whoever was feeding him the answer, is quite simply wrong on that one. Of course there is crossover with the work of arts organisations working in the moving image - but I’m sure that not one of those three organisations (and I know them very well) would lay claim to substantially supporting 'animation'. And when they do, their focus is exclusively on work by visual artists for a visual arts context.

The two ‘animation’ focused organisations that the Arts Council has supported for many years - onedotzero and Animate Projects - engage with a very different crowd and practice. onedotzero’s exporation of ‘new forms and hybrids of moving image’ has been a vital platform for creative practice beyond the boundaries of ‘visual arts’ practice, and at Animate Projects we crisscross those boundaries all the time.

We certainly work with ‘visual artists’, but usually to support them to work in new ways, for new contexts. And more commonly we work with people who work specifically within 'animation'.

It’s that support that is now missing - completely - from the new Portfolio - and therefore, from the Arts Council’s focus. Animate Projects and onedotzero have been taken out, and there's nothing that replaces them. Funds may be available through Grants for the arts, but that’s for projects - it simply won’t fund us to do much of what we do.

There is a depressing conservatism about the Arts Council’s decisions. Many digital/media organisations are being cut, and the Arts Council’s emphasis is on the ‘delivery’ potential of digital, as opposed to its creative potential. Their new initiative - Building Digital Capacity for the Arts - seems to be mainly about performing arts companies acquiring production skills to post trailers online.

We have regularly complained to the Arts Council about the lack of overview - their signal failure to develop an effective strategy for moving image, animation in particular, and digital work more generally. So that, consequently, the development of animation and its talent base has no context, no strategy, no critical mass and no nurturing.

And their response is to agree that they don’t have a specific strategy on moving image, animation and/or digital work. 'Just as there are no specific strategies for other visual arts sub art forms such as photography, publishing or live art.'

‘Sub art form’ feels a bit loaded to me. But anyway, unlike those other ‘sub forms', animation is not simply theirs not to have a strategy for. UK Film Council had been lax too - but one would have thought the two organisations might have had a conversation about animation. At some point.

They tell us that ‘the work [we] do is valued and well respected across the sector.’ That will be the ‘visual arts’ sector. We work with artists, but much of the animation we’re talking about is made by a different kind of talent - people who call themselves animators or filmmakers or graphic designers or ceramicists.. people who have a range of different histories, traditions, contexts, and practice, and who reach different audiences.

We’re pleased that Animate Projects has funding to enable us to deliver a programme of online exhibition for the coming year, and we hope to use that time to advocate more strongly - with others - for recognition of the importance and value of animation, and for a bit more respect for its audience.

Arts Council Head Honcho doesn't answer our question

From The Guardian blog:

Animate Projects:
I appreciate the difficult decisions, but the process doesn't seem completely 'transparent' to me, and nor does the 'intellectual framework'. I wonder how 'the best mix of organisations in terms of..artform' can exclude animation - the artform that my (hitherto ace funded) organisation specialises in.

Animation is interdisciplinary, cross-sectoral, something the UK is internationally respected for, award winning, digital, and has a predominantly young audience. But I can't see any animation organisation on your list, and I'd like to ask at which stage of the process, and what part of the intellectual framework, was the decision to exclude an entire artform from the Portfolio?

Alan Davey:
Animation is included in the funding decisions we announced yesterday. Yes, it's right that there is no single body dedicated to this work but galleries we fund, and moving image companies such as Film London, Lux and Film and Video Umbrella cover animation as part of their work. Remember the National portfolio isn't the only funding avenue. Grants for the arts is an open applications Lottery funded programme, through which we have recently made a large grant to a Animate, a specialist animation company.

Animate Projects:
Sorry Alan, but that's just wrong or at the very least disingenuous. Animate is indeed a specialist organisation, and supports a wide and inclusive range of creative talent that those organisations - which focus exclusively on work by visual artists - don't.

We (it's my company) are emphatically 'interstitial' - we support 'visual artists', but also animators and filmmakers. I hoped your answer might be better informed.

30 March 2011

now let’s see..where are we..

In deciding which organisations to fund (from April 2012) as part of its new Portfolio. Arts Council England took the opportunity to ‘find a balance’ across its investment in the arts - including artform, size and type.

So just what kind of ‘balance’ have they achieved?

They shafted Animate Projects, but we’re just one organisation. Albeit the only organisation focused on experimental animation. Or any other kind of animation for that matter.

But what about the rest..

Some media organisations did well - or at least survive. National agencies LUX (200k) and Film and Video Umbrella (377k), and regional organisations including Film London (320k), FACT (1m), B3 Media (190k), no.w.here (55k), furtherfield (77k), Nottingham’s Broadway (100k) and Brighton’s Lighthouse (120k).

But other digital/media organisations have either been axed or maybe they didn’t apply (ACE said it would publish a list of all applicants, then changed its mind).

As well as Animate Projects, the Arts Council has axed or won’t be funding: onedotzero, PVA Lab, Lumen, Four Corners, Vivid, Picture This, tank.tv, folly, proboscis, Pavilion, SCAN, Mute, Potland Green Cultural Projects, Lovebytes, Media Art Bath, Independent Cinema Office. And digi-friendly types like ArtSway, Castlefield, moti roti, Isis..

The North East’s (brilliant) AV Festival and Berwick Film and Media Arts Festival seem to be the only new visual arts digital media related organisations on the list. Oh, there’s also Somerset Film and Video. Getting 87k. I’m sure they do good work, but they do seem to be emphatically a film organisation. And in the same region as Picture This.

Animate Projects denied Arts Council England Portfolio status

Animate Projects is sorry to announce that its application for Arts Council England's National portfolio funding from 2012 was unsuccessful, because there are ‘other arts organisations whose contribution fits better into the national picture’.

As we announced in January, our application to Arts Council England’s Grants for the arts programme for 2011-2012 funding was also rejected. However, we were encouraged to resubmit and we are pleased that this application was successful. So, we can continue to deliver a programme of online exhibitions over the next year.

We would like to say a very big thank to the many people who expressed their support; we will be exploring all possibilities that might enable us to continue to support animators, artists and their audiences..

We send commiserations to other colleagues who were unsuccessful and our congratulations to those that made it into the Portfolio.

22 March 2011

Competition: win a copy of the exclusive CUJO PRIMITIVE

To mark the UK DVD release of Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, we are pleased to offer three copies of the Primitive issue of CUJO as prizes.

CUJO is ‘a magazine and a guide to the imaginary’. It’s free, published in Italy, distributed by hand, published in a numbered edition of only 1000 - and available only in ‘personal places that the artist loves and that somehow represent him’, spread around the world. It is not available in the UK.

Find out more about CUJO here

You can buy the Primitive DVD at Amazon here.

For a chance to win a copy of CUJO: Primitive, we want you to tell us three famous people or animals you would like to have been in your past lives. Entry through Twitter - tweet your 3 names followed by #CUJOPRIMITIVE

The three trinities that intrigue us most win a copy of CUJO. Tweet before noon, 1 April 2011. Our decisions are final!

Uncle Boonmee.. and CUJO PRIMITIVE are part of the PRIMITIVE projects, as are the short films Phantoms of Nabua (which you can see here) and A Letter to Uncle Boonmee (see it here)

21 February 2011

Lapse: online exhibition

"The technology [work with 3D, inverted camera position, subliminal techniques] and heavily mediated image allows the viewer to look at a slightly altered and dislocated version of the world that calls into question our daily relationship with the environments that we have created and engage with." Helen Sloan, Lapse 2011

Our latest online exhibition, Lapse, showcases the work of five artists who explore the possibilities of time-lapse techniques, including Inger Lise Hansen who made an intoxicating time-lapse work for AnimateTV in 2006.

We could also have included from the Animate Archive - the enigmatic landscapes of Cobra Mist by Emily Richardson, and also Sunset Strip by Kayla Parker, which although it isn't strictly a time-lapse technique is similar to Alistair Ruff's exhibited works in its use of a strict system based process to condense 365 sunsets into one animated work.

We'd like to know what experimental time-lapse works you've seen recently that have made you see the world anew - please share your suggestions via the comments box below and include URLs so we can check out the work.

18 February 2011

Animate and ACE

We'd like to thank people very much indeed for all the supportive comments. We have been encouraged by Arts Council England to make a resubmission to Grants for the arts, and that's gone in. It is for a substantially reduced programme, but their support would allow us to continue, and to work on fundraising from other sources for projects.

We'll keep you posted. And thanks again.

27 January 2011

Arts Council Axes Animate

We are very sorry to announce that Animate is likely to close down at the end of March 2011, following Arts Council England’s decision not to fund our 2011 programme.

Animate began in 1990 as an Arts Council/Channel 4 scheme and has been supported by the Arts Council England continuously for 21 years.

We set up Animate Projects four years ago, following the sudden death of Dick Arnall. animateprojects.org is a unique resource, with more than 140 films, many by key figures in British animation, including 11 British Animation Awards winners and five BAFTA nominations, as well as interviews, essays and background production materials.

We are very proud of the work that we have been able to support, and would like to thank all the animators, artists, filmmakers, writers, and partners that we’ve worked with over the years, and to everyone who has taken an interest in our work.

Our programme continues, with new works online, until March, and we hope to keep the website live for some time after that.

Whilst we are exploring options for beyond March, we would appreciate any expressions of support that might help.

Please comment below or email us at: info@animateprojects.org


We set up Animate Projects in 2007 following the sudden death of Dick Arnall, on the understanding that the Arts Council intended to make us a ‘regularly funded organisation’, however they have only ever given us ‘project’ support.

Arts Council England told us that an application to Grants for the arts for our 2011 - 2012 programme was our only option for support. We have had positive discussions with Channel 4 and were hopeful that the AnimateTV scheme would run again.

The Arts Council assessment of the application stated that, although Animate Projects has a strong artistic record and is seen as a strategically important organisation, ‘it would not be fair or consistent to fund activity of this nature through Grants for the arts.’ This is despite our having been funded through Grants for the arts since 2007.

We have applied for ACE Portfolio funding, but that would commence in April 2012, and without GftA support we cannot sustain the organisation over the 12 months until then.

Animate Projects is the only UK organisation with a particular focus on the production and exhibition of experimental animation, and is at the forefront in the commission of artists’ moving image for exhibition online and digital platforms.

Download the press release here.