An easy way to understand flame-glass animation (or flame-ation) think
Claymation but with molten glass: figures and forms shaped in the flame and
photographed at tiny increments of change to produce sequences of
animation which can be edited and composited into a filmic work. Jack
McGrath and I developed this approach during post-graduate research at
Sydney College of the Arts – in part as a way of ‘bringing glass to life and
bringing life to glass’ as well as conveying the glassblowers experience of the
material as a deliciously fluid and elastic substance, to an audience used to
thinking of glass as only fragile and brittle.
Animation is a natural terrain for storytelling – a central concern in both mark
and Jacks work. It is a marvelous vehicle for the imagination because you can
make stuff up – a temporal extension drawing.
Jack McGrath and I began our collaborative project whilst conducting Masters
research at Sydney College of the Arts in 2008. Our first film: Dr Mermaid
and the Abovemarine was followed by a number of abstract installations in
which the objects were exhibited in relation to their animated projections
sometimes with a soundtrack. Future plans include experimenting with ways
to bring the artists body into the work via the performance of making, live
computer editing, live story telling and or live soundtrack accompaniment.
DR MERMAID AND THE ABOVEMARINE
An animated story by Mark Eliott and Jack McGrath with the assistance of Vanessa White, Tim Eliott and Michael Kennett.
Molten glass fuzes with stop-motion animation in this underwater fantasy set in Bondi. Nerida – a Bondi marine biologist who can talk to fish learns of the trials and tribulations of life for the modern sea creature. When she discovers a World War 2 relic on the ocean floor, she embarks on a unique project to help her fish friends. Along with its environmental messages, this otherwise whimsical work has as its subtext the perception of a need to create local mythology as a way of finding connection to the places we inhabit.
This was completed in 2010 and screened in various locations including the Glassmuseet in Denmark where it was accompanied by a collection of models, storyboards and sketches documenting the project and its improvisational process of development, in the 2013 show: Ocean.
EXPERIMENTS IN LIVING GLASS
In this piece a revolving improvisational form is illuminated by, and casts a shadow on an animated projection derived from its making as if it were in dialogue with its digital offspring. The soundtrack was composed by Michael Kennett. This work as well as the Slow Growth Improvisation series, was shown in a number of exhibitions including the 2012 group show Glassimations curated by Lienors Torre in Melbourne and Canberra
EXPERIMENTS IN LIVING GLASS #2
Experiments in Living Glass #2, takes the relationship between the object and the screen a step further by building an installation in which animations derived from the making of abstracted glass sea life forms are projected in the dark through the objects themselves, bringing them to life as it were, and creating a scene reminiscent of the deep ocean with interesting refractions and reflections appearing in the scape due to distortions in the glass objects. This work was exhibited during the 2015 Animation Studies conference in Canterbury, England as well as the 2016 Tom Malone exhibition at The Gallery of Western Australia.
THE FLAME GLASS ANIMATION PROJECT: THE DOCUMENTARY
This provides an overview of the Flame-ation project produced by Jack McGrath and Daisy DeWindt for Marks presentation at the 2016 GAS conference in Corning, New York. Some of the soundtrack was produced by composers: Michael Kennet and Ben Fink.
GLASS FLAME-ATION BONDI:THE WORKSHOP
This provides a run down of the first Flame-ation workshop which wad held at Waverly Woollarah School of Arts in 2012. It contains some interesting artists responses to their first encounter with a new medium. Produced by Jack McGrath it features participating artists Wendy Hee, Fiona Entmeades, Gail Carson and Tod Fuller as well as the generous assistance of Spike Deane.
GLASS FLAME-ATION BONDI:THE FILMIC SKETCH
A short work produced by Jack McGrath which features digitally modified insect-like forms derived from the animation sequences as an outcome of the workshop.
AUSGLASS (R)EVOLVE: THE FLAME-ATION STATION
This whimsical experiment held at Canberra Glass works during the 2017
Ausglass conference, involved 6 experienced borosilicate glass artists
collaborating under Marks guidance to produce their first glass animation
sequence – and in full view of the public.
6 improvisational sequences of stop-frame animation were produced
simultaneously and setup up in an armature side by side in front of a green
screen so that they could be photographed in relation to each other before being
passed back on to the next participant in the circle. Spike Deane assisted and
edited the resulting sequences into a short video. Audience members could see
these sequences taking shape on a screen.
As well as ‘evolving’ the work was also ‘revolving’ because we decided to
incorporate Blanche Tilden’s idea of passing the objects around like an ‘Exquisite
corps’ game so that each artist got to add a bit to each piece. Due to this shared
authorship, each object seemed to take on a life of its own.