The Austrian artist Martin Arnold premiered his “animation beyond animation”, Soft Palate, at PAF in 2010. Since then his loose series of short animations derived from the Disney cartoons’ anatomies have expanded into larger numbers and Arnold has become involved in the exploration of questions concerning the subconscious perception of phenomena that can be found in black holes and in the blinks of Pluto and Mickey. This year, he has issued a thematically related publication titled Gross Anatomies.
The lecture was held as part of the Festivals of Live Cinema project activities.
At PAF in 2010, Austrian artist and filmmaker Martin Arnold premiered a video called Soft Palate. At that time it was an animation analysis and a reworking of a motif from a Disney film. Since then, he created a free series derived from the anatomy of cartoons–the author tackled questions connected to the subconscious perception of various phenomena found in the gaps between film frames as well as the visible anatomy of Pluto and Mickey. In comparison to films from the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s, a time when Arnold was following up on structural film in the context of Hollywood appropriations, he now works methodically with interventions into individual film frames. It could be said that this animation series stands on the frontier of sight analysis and the creation of a projective test for audience analysis. At PAF, Martin Arnold will mainly present the basis and the context which led to the beginning of videos derived from animation.
In 2010, Arnold curated an exhibition called Blinking (Galerie Martin Janda). Along with moving pictures about blinking, he included his own cartoons and films by the structuralist filmmaker Owen Land and contemporary artist Runa Islam. The starting point for the exhibition was, besides a Japanese study on blinking, also a question: “Can a history of seeing be told without taking cognisance of the history of overlooking?”, which is followed by Arnold’s own text: “People tend to blink between 8 and 41 times per minute. This means that, during this time frame, a person is, on average, blind for about six seconds. Traditional motion pictures, too, flicker, projecting 24 frames per second, which are interrupted by 48 phases of complete darkness. Sitting in the dark recesses of a movie theatre, watching the images fluttering across the screen, the lid’s blinking reflex sets in, uniformly, with about half of the audience, in keeping with the events depicted. The matter so projected is, therefore, not only collectively viewed but also collectively overlooked. (…) The exhibition gathered together artistic positions that display a common interest in the joy of recognition and the failure to recognise, in perception and misperception, appearance and disappearance, in a word – in blinking.”
This year he published an authorial publication Gross Anatomies (2015), the name is borrowed from a discipline dealing with visible phenomena in anatomy. Near the end of an interview with curator Angela Steif, he answers questions connected to the psychoanalytic interpretation of his works and, more generally, his stance on psychoanalysis. “In practice, psychoanalysis does not look for the truth but rather wants the analysand to be happy. There is this joke: After completing a therapy a patient meets his psychoanalyst in the street and the latter asks him how he is doing, to which the patient replies: „I am still wetting the bed, but now I am having fun doing it.“ Similartly, my cartoons do not know the truth either; rather they are very small stories that leave plenty in the dark, and not only in the dark phases of film screenings or blinking. These works include a lot of darkness and many blanks on the screen as well. I tell the stories quasi from the off (off-screen, unspoken, unseen…) How do you interpret what you do not or cannot see? In the synchronization in the loop art a mutual temporary perception loss? Many years ago I found a quotation by Georges Bataille in which he speaks of a big black hole that connects us all. And in the course of my further research I was surprised to find that he mean the pupil and not the anus.”
4 Dec | 7 pm | FA
Martin Arnold (AT): Black Holes
lecture | Animation beyond Animation
5 Dec | 6 pm | T
Distribution Situation – The State of Things
round table – Matěj Strnad, Samson Kambalu (MW/GB), Ivan David, Lenka Střeláková, Martin Arnold (AT), Janek Rous | Other Visions
The lecture and round table were held as part of the Festivals of Live Cinema project activities.