Monday, 4 April 2011

Case study two - Animated Minds

Animated Minds is a series of short animations based around mental illness. They were created to be broadcast on Channel 4 and Teachers TV in the hope to give the audience a greater understanding of what it is like to live with a mental disorder.

The project was a collaboration between many different animators; the process began by recording the interviewees and then cutting this material down until it became a short narrative that was full of potential for creating an animation.

The short I will look at is called ‘Over and Over (and Over) Again’ (Glynne, A. 2003) which is an animation of actual testimony of Danny, a young boy who lives with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. The film shows how disruptive to his daily routine the disorder has become. The animation is created with a mixture of hand drawn elements and digital technology, see Fig. 6.

Although this film will have been produced with digital software it is given a very hand rendered aesthetic. ‘From this unreal perspective, scanning, manipulating and assembling at will, everything else also starts to look unreal’ Poynor (2003, p.115) This concept of taking something real and making it screen based, of manipulating it in someway that changes its state, from reality to pixels is related to Baudrillards theory of simulation. ‘it is now impossible to isolate the process of the real to prove the real’ Baudrillard' (1983, p.41). We recognise all the animation as been hand drawn and the textures to be painted but in fact none of this exists at all. In the opening sections of this animation we see Danny repeatedly writing a sentence over and over again, it looks real and we here the sound of the pen, it feels real but we know that what is produced on the screen is just a representation of the real. I keep referring to the camera in the animations when in fact this camera has been simulated in such software as After effects, motion blur effects can be applied to heighten the sense that what we are looking at is real this is pure fabrication. This animation is a metaphor for the spoken words, taking everything Danny says and putting it in a visual form that we can relate to making this animation a very effective one. It has enabled us to see what Danny goes through suffering with OCD. It would have been very hard to portray this with live footage.

In this case I would say that this animation is a documentary, there is no fantasy only truth although this has been shown to us visually in a different format where the characters don’t necessarily conform to the conventions of the natural world. This animation has succeeded in effectively showing us what it is like to have OCD.

Fig. 6. Over and Over (and Over) Again. Screen Shots taken from Glynne,A. (2003). Over and Over (and Over) Again. [online] Available from: [Accessed 4th April 2011]

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