An Art of Ambiguity, Contradiction and Uncompleted Gestures
On the heels of debuting new work in England, faculty member Rose Bond works with PNCA to develop a new BFA Program in Contemporary Animated Arts.
Nine windows across the stone front of an English castle provided the stage for Rose Bond’s most recent animated installation, “Broadsided!” which opened the 2010 Animated Exeter Festival, February 11–20. The piece, sparked by Bond’s research in the archives of Exeter in County Devon, takes a tale of petty crime and juxtaposes it against images of power, class and luck to question the very premise of justice. This starkly appropriate piece fits the site, Exeter Castle, which served as the Devon Crown Court for the past 250 years, holding prisoners in its dark cellar until two years ago.
“The opening was on a dark night with low-hanging clouds. The grounds of the castle, encircled by ancient stone walls, makes you think of bonfires and roasting chestnuts,” said Bond, Intermedia associate professor at PNCA. Bond contrasts the festival’s opening with the civic events of the Crown Court’s day, which featured frequent, boisterous and well-attended public hangings.
Finding locations rich in history and meaning for her site-specific animation installations has seen Bond working from a former synagogue that is now the Museum at Eldridge Street in New York’s Lower East Side to an installation projected from within City Hall in Utrecht, Netherlands.
In speaking of her transition from creating more traditional animation to making site-specific pieces that still focus on movement, Bond explains, “In 2002 I saw a multiple slide projection in the windows of an abandoned warehouse by a PNCA student, Jeremy Bitterman, and it occurred to me that static images would be more engaging in windows if they moved. Ultimately, that’s it—I want my images to move.”
“ I want my images to move. ”
Since then, Bond has found kindred spirits in artists whose specific work speaks to her. “Among the artists I admire is Krzysztof Wodiczko, who
views art as a social contract—in the 80s he took his images out of the museum and projected them in public spaces,” said Bond. “Site is critical to the provocative impact of his work. Shimon Attie was a projection artist I discovered when researching for the Museum at Eldridge Street project. His concerns center on memory, place and identity, and his work brings histories of the marginalized into the physical landscape. I like how he thinks of old buildings as ‘the apparently abandoned places of the present.’”
As director of PNCA’s 2009 Boundary Crossings: An Institute in Contemporary Animated Arts, an international summer program that focused on the emerging field of hybrid moving images, Bond found a new colleague in Marina Zurkow. “I was intrigued by her work, which included projection on a hockey stadium. Finally, like many fine art animators, William Kentridge holds a special place for me. His work is political and provincial and relies heavily on fragments of movement. He says his work is ‘an art of ambiguity, contradiction, and uncompleted gestures.’ He eschews the term animated cartoon and chooses instead ‘drawings for projection.’ His animated work has signature, integrity and roughhewn transcendence.”
“ William Kentridge holds a special place for me. His work is political and provincial and relies heavily on fragments of movement. He says his work is ‘an art of ambiguity, contradiction, and uncompleted gestures.’ ”
In response to the growing interest in frame-based artwork that stretches the concept of animation, Bond is currently working with PNCA on the development of a new BFA program in Contemporary Animated Arts, anticipated for fall 2010. This interdisciplinary program will be the first of its kind in the United States and will provide a platform for students to expand the boundaries of moving image work.
“Animation has long existed outside the codes and conventions of the studio cartoon, traversing the terrain of space, time, and form,” said Bond. “The curriculum being developed for PNCA’s Contemporary Animated Arts program offers a framework for students to re-imagine and create frame-based work that is supported and enriched by research and innovation. It’s an exciting time for artists as we re-define animation and the manipulated image, animated art forms are being pushed beyond the movies to permeate our cultural landscape. It’s also exciting to see PNCA paving the way for future advancements in the field of hybrid media and contemporary animated arts.”
Rose Bond is an internationally recognized animator and media artist specializing in time-based art. She has received honors from the American Film Institute, The Princess Grace Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Her large-scale, site-specific installations include “Gates of Light”, Museum at Eldridge Street, NYC, 2004; and “Intra Muros”, shown during the 2007 Platform International Animation Festival and during the Holland Animation Film Festival in 2008. She is an associate professor in Intermedia at the Pacific Northwest College of Art.