Essays

Essay 10: Figments of Collective Imagination – Money 

Money was a purely mental revolution. It involved the creation of a new inter-subjective reality that exists solely in people’s shared imagination – regarding the book Money by Yuval Noah Harari. 

Throughout the development of money I have seen from the book, from the age of hunter-gatherer society which life hugely relied on reciprocity, that of the Agricultural revolution the idea of barter and that of the complex commercial system – the money system we have been living today, money is one of the strongest inter-subjective imaginations human has trust. These arouse me to think about how does animation really work in human’s inners. As I always claim that animation is a medium working indispensably with human’s inter-subjective reality, but it has never seen obvious compared to the existence of money. Yet, at least, I would say I think animation works in a different function. It does not play aggressively as a concrete element in societies, but it has been in and also seeped through daily life human’s activities. The long-term network of political, social, economics and other relations which is very complex in societies has created the trust of money and the creation of this trust occurred by many exchanges of human’s shared imagination, a space of animation. 

In the present day, the new era of money – digital money: bitcoins, decentralised finance coins, and other digital currencies having been being exchanged in digital space is the next unimaginative and unforeseen figments of human’s collective imagination. 

For me, animation is not a material reality. It is a psychological, metaphorical, ideological construct. It works by converting matter into mind and mind into mind. So, the inter-subjective reality which is one main of the entities of animation is going to massively work in this world and the significance of the strong point of animation will be focused, rather than welly known by mostly on entertainment purpose hitherto. 

The Book: https://www.amazon.com/Money-Vintage-Y-N-Harari/dp/1784874027

By Thanut Rujitanont on 2021-06-19

Essay 9: Beyond Imagination, Library Without Limits 

Since the Library of Alexandria, a place where repository of learning assembled, has been fixed in our imagination for so long, in 1901, the German mathematician and science fiction pioneer Kurd Lasswitz imagined a library without limits trying to reduced all written language to essential elements, a Universal Library. But to construct a Universal Library containing all the works ever written and to be written, including all forms of deviation and holding every possible variation became clear that it would be impossible. “No matter how we try to visualise it, we are bound to fail” Lasswitz writes. The Library of Babel by Jorge Luis Borges is also another try. The library with a boundless archive composed of an infinite number of hexagonal galleries with specific designations. 

Foot Prints In Search of Future Fossils by David Farrier brought me through journeys in different time and places having experienced with hidden information deposited in nature, a journey of global archive. Reading the frozen library by ice sheet and bedrock. Reef, coral and so on. The book opens my eyes breaking the limit of my imagination of vessel – a thing that holds something else within it, like form of animation. 

The book: https://www.amazon.com/Footprints-Search-Fossils-David-Farrier/dp/0374157332

By Thanut Rujitanont on 2021-06-16

Essay 8: Collective Memory Banks, Songlines and Walls of Cave’s Labyrinthine Rooms 

Transcendence How Humans Evolved through Fire, Language, Beauty and Time by Gaia Vince talks about the evolution of human in various views. One of the views I especially felt touched by is Word: Story, Language, and Telling (P.64-124). 

The writer points out the imperative nature of collective memory in human history. Collective memory banks which are in many forms and having different functions and mechanisms in themselves, purposing mainly to store information, knowledge and to impart them to others by using some helpers such as stories and narrative to help human’s accumulation. The songlines as oral archive and the cinema cave the mentioned form are intriguing. I will note a short of my thoughts here to keep them formed. 

Apart from the wonderful of the songlines and the cinema cave which store livings, rituals, laws, ceremonies, landscapes, creatures, weathers, gods, and so on are deliberately explicated with exemplars in the book, I was mesmerized most by the mechanism of these kinds of forms which in some way can affirm beliefs and perception anyone has in their mind by the instinct of inevitable comparison. Most of the time we try to ensure that our individual narrative is aligned with our societies or not, what points or which points we are not aligned with. In one way, the collective memory banks might have the power to bind people together in shared beliefs and play a key role to conform societies, but in another way, it can push someone far away by countless battles of infinite memories stored in forms they ought to encounter every day.  The conformity of human seems not possible regarding the history of collective memories human has been storing and imparting up to now; if it is the purpose of humankind people always are revolving around.

The book: https://www.amazon.com/Transcendence-Humans-Evolved-through-Language/dp/0465094902 

By Thanut Rujitanont on 2021-06-12

Essay 7: Measurable Time, Weight of tThe Past and Illusions of Progress

About a year ago while the COVID-19 pandemic has been starting, I came across, through a webinar, an interview of a film director sharing an opinion on a side effect of the pandemic in a phenomenon way. “I believe this outbreak will make people living and experiencing in a different sense of their preceding time of life. The time will be slower.”, he said. When I heard of it, I did not understand the meaning of what he said. I would say I could not imagine how it can be. My initiative response was to ask in my mind, is not it should be the opposite? Shall we feel like we should be in rush for things we could not do right now?  

But when the time had passed, for a year, many of my thoughts during the pandemic-time have been gradually formed. Those which have been dwelling on some undefined and undetermined future time somehow got me focusing on the present time. And it seems like time is a bit longer. I am not sure is there anyone having been in the state like me. If there is, the article I mention in this essay is worth reading. 

The Brief History of the Idea of Progress by Alain de Benoist is a short article informing some milestones in the idea of progress which formulating our nowadays perception of goal and failure. The article will give you some intrinsic notions we always presuppose on in life. Those which are the consequence of the Christianity a field I hardly know. I will not deal here with the dispute of topics in the article, but I would like to mention some principles and repercuss parts I relate to. To give you a seduction of reading this article. Here is a significant paragraph I encourage you to read. 

“The three key ideas: (1) a linear conception of time and the idea that history has a meaning, oriented the future; (2) the idea of the fundamental unity of humanity, all called to evolve in the same direction together; and (3) the idea that the world can and must be transformed, which implies that man asserts himself as sovereign master of nature”. (Benoist, 2008) 

The article spends some time on articulating how do those reformulated ideas in secular societies affect human after the rise of science and technology in 17th century: the occurrence of idea of the infinite possible improvement, the becoming of homogenous and measurable clock and time, the being displaced of the peasant time by bourgeois class which commanding the measurable time in the present, the comparison of present and past and so on. 

There is so massive information in detail that it needs quite well-rounded approach to grasp. But at least I found a pillar I can hold on in this unusual current time. Besides, those ideas also lead me questioning notions I have been shaped in life until now. 

Anyone who is struggling with the idea of guilt, of being not good enough and of being success in life is recommended.

The article link: https://www.scribd.com/document/232471059/A-Brief-History-of-the-Idea-of-Pogress 

By Thanut Rujitanont on 2021-05-30

Essay 6: A Reflection of My Thoughts on Estonian Animation 

In this essay I would like to give my time to write about, and to reflect upon, my experience watching Estonian animations. The content of this essay is not include only my feeling towards Estonian animation but also the circumstance of the Estonian animation I have known which helps me examine the impact of the animation makers’ environment to refine my current approach in animation. 

To start with, when I say Estonian animation, it is too much to say that Estonian animation is all Estonian animations. I ought to assert that it means animations directed by Estonian directors or produced by Estonian animation studios I have seen, mostly on the internet, for the past few years and having seen some from animation festivals I have attended recently. A big meet with Estonian animation for me, I would say, is the Estonian Animation Special Programmes at the 17th International Animated Film Festival Hiroshima 2018.  

To keep it short and simple, what I felt watching those animations, most of the time, is the experience of raw energy, absurd, repression, confusion, resentment and other bitterness feeling. I easily fell into their world where lots of questions such as what is the intention of the director, what is the meaning of characters’ actions, what influence these directors on directing this kind of animations are revolving in my head. And those questions leaded me to find further information by reading the directors’ interviews, the reviews from audiences and any resource I could find. All made me come across the book Estonian Animation Between Genius & Utter Illiteracy by Chris Robinson which answers many of the questions I have in mind.  

I do not want to, and not intend to, use this space to give information from the book. But I would like to reflect on a few points that the writer examines the Estonian animation. As those points have had answers and impacts on me questioning about the difference of animations created in each specified place. For instances, the writer mentions that the Estonian’s unique geographical position, as an intersection of Western and Eastern Europe being under the rule of many countries for centuries: Denmark, Poland, Sweden, Germany, and Russia, influences and creates the uniqueness of Estonian, being irrational and absurd animation. And because of its enviable geographical location, the animations that had been made under these hostile circumstances, have had the nature of the underlying political and ethical context. In short, the correlation of the convergence of cultural, political and geographical factors of Estonia has had a big impact on the outcome animations. 

There is much detail on Estonian animations I can find the linkage between the animations themself and the influence of directors’ hometown. However, I think, here is not a good spot to prattling on each Estonian animation I am interested in. But All I above wrote is a way to reflect on what I am thinking about animations created in my hometown, Thailand. I wish, to further understanding on Thai animation, drawing an outline of the relation between the Thai animation itself and the circumstances animations having been made is important, therefore, citing a wide range of knowledge: history, geography, politics and others branches of knowledge is needed. At the moment, it is too hard for me to write about it as lacking of understanding and sufficient information. If I properly accumulate them enough, I hope I can look into my hometown’s animations, clearly, as I can see from the book Estonian Animation Between Genius & Utter Illiteracy. 

The book link: https://www.amazon.com/Estonian-Animation-Between-Genius-Illiteracy/dp/0861966678.

By Thanut Rujitanont on 2021-05-10

Essay 5: Vocational and Autonomous Modality

In the essay 2: Animation in everyday lives, I briefly mentioned a prefigurative impact of studying animation in school. Here, I would like to discuss it further as I think it can be useful or might be helpful for anyone being in an education system. As in my student life, the time when I was not aware of how an education system works in a society, I did not clearly realise what a curriculum is made up of and how it is arranged. Hence, it seems like I was walking in the mist where I did not know what actually I was learning for. 

To bring some light into the mist I was in, I think anyone who aims to study animation needs to be informed of is there are various perceptions of learning in animation. In common, how animation is taught is simply seen in practical or applied terms as the animation practice is strongly tied to the notion of craft. But, to be more precious, here, I would like to introduce two-terms argued by Nils Lindahl-Elliot to lend you a hand: (a) vocational modality and (b) autonomous modality. The former, “Vocational” which means “courses which teach media (or other) theories and practices to prepare students for work in the media production market” and, the latter, “autonomous” means those courses “which teach them to develop what can be described as a critical disposition towards media (or more widely towards popular culture)” (2000: 19) 

For me, animation students can simply be educated in any way but with providing the understanding of the pedagogy in animation. As it will have a huge impact on the development of professional training and applied knowledge’s students received in their education process. Clearly what we are learning is very significant. If you cannot distinguish them, it probably hinders your development more than anything else. 

In Thailand, as far as I know, animation studies are vocational study  programmes training students for employment. Animation courses can be perceived as training for particular animation studios or for the graduates to fulfil specific roles such as animator, modeler, rigger, lighter and others. And those practiced roles are very technical that possibly limit their possible potential in any other part of the process of animation making. In other words, the main of those courses’ objective is to provide students with the tool necessary to compete for employment in an animation studio production. 

To end this short essay, I would like to note, here, that an initial step in the study of animation in Thailand, which is merely my preference, should take, basically but seriously, is, at least, viewing animation as a form of cultural practice entailing the relation between people and society. I expect with high hopes that animation studies in Thailand will stand as an area not only to provide worker bees to the economic wheel of business but also for the autonomous study.

If you are interested in the education field of animation, as being a student, a professor or even an animation practitioner, there is more rigorous information I gained from Animation studies as an interdisciplinary teaching field by Paul Ward.

 
Paul Ward (2013), ‘Animation studies as an interdisciplinary teaching field’, in Suzanne Buchan (ed.) Pervasive Animation. Routledge, pp. 317-335. 
 
The book link: https://www.routledge.com/Pervasive-Animation/Buchan/p/book/9780415807241

By Thanut Rujitanont on 2021-05-03

Essay 4: The Fifth Day of A Hunger Strike 

“Provoked the public against the regime”, “encouraging the public to advocate the superiority of a class over another class”, “Provoking naval soldiers to rebellion”, and many other accused of made Nazim Hikmet, a Turkish poet who was sentenced a number of times by Turkish courts because of his poetry, in and out of jail for much of his life. The sum of the sentences he had been charged and judged, roughly saying, was over 50 years in prison. 

Poems, the collected writings, were partly written while he was in jails between 1938-1950. The poems he wrote were smuggled out of prisons and passing from hand to hand throughout Turkey and was published in 1954. The Fifth Day of a Hunger Strike is also one of writings written in the last year of his imprisonment, also, the year Nazim was being on a 17-day hunger strike to obtain his rights for his acquittal. 

What I wrote above is a brief introduction I would like to let you know about Nazim Hikmet. As I felt special with his charming torment throughout his poems and, in my point of view, his writings straightforwardly reflect the historical reality of the world which, at the moment, relates to my surrounded present-day situations. There are 25 short poems in the book Poems. Optimism and Perhaps are, also, the other poems I really like.

There are 9-page website with Nazim Hikmet’s biography and the 46-page book, Poems, that I sincerely encourage you to read. 

Here are the links you can find them: 
http://nazimhikmetran.biz/english/pages/biyografi.html 
https://www.scribd.com/doc/16093710/Poems-by-Nazim-Hikmet-New-York-1954

By Thanut Rujitanont on 2021-04-26

Essay 3: The Indivisibility of Animation

To think about animation as a medium of expression, it is unavoidable to assert that animation itself has a potential to involve the use of visual and auditory materials since the initial step of making animation, the animation ideas, to the final outcome, the on-screen animations. In addition, caused by the unique identity of animation, while audiences are watching the animations, they instinctively construct their own meanings from what they see. Imagining the behind-the-scenes processing before those animations are output is also one of good examples. Therefore, mentioning separately to each individual animation does not cover what I am trying to articulate here, sharing you a four-decade journey of a women’s film collective that you can see the indivisibile relationship of animation between the animation makers, the expressed social issues and the animations themselves would be a great way to reveal how animation works.

The women’s film collective, Leeds Animation Workshop, was set up in 1978. The focus of the collective is on using animation to raise awareness and to provoke questions and discussion of social issues. In the article I attach below, you will find the reflections from the practitioner’s point of view through the medium of animations. Their animation project relating to women’s groups and nursery campaigns in 1978, the project concerning with the reality of working people’s lives in industries in 1980 and other projects about sexism, violence against women, racism, global exploitation and so forth are interestingly informed.

Terry Wragg. International Journal of Film and Media Arts (2019) Vol. 4, Nº. 2 pp. 60-67

Article Link:  https://revistas.ulusofona.pt/index.php/ijfma/article/view/7049/4208

By Thanut Rujitanont on 2021-04-14

Essay 2: Animation in Everyday Lives

I came across the article, Ephemeral Animation by Nenagh Watson, when I was at the RMIT library in Melbourne a few years ago. What I like most about this article is that it made me expand the way I thought about the concept of autonomy and manipulation as an animation maker. After I was pulled into the field of Ephemeral Animation, I began to see animations within my own everyday lives. The animations that are not physically animated by me or other humans but still give endless room for being animated by each individual’s subjective perception.

As the writer, Nenagh Watson, is a puppeteer, the essence of puppetry that is about triggering the illusion of life from inanimate objects makes him closely scrutinise his environment in relation to life. This, also, could be a meaningful instinct for every animation maker as it challenges animator makers to learn naturally from their own experience not from others.

In my opinion, animation makers who study animations from schools and, or studios tend to get stuck on animation technique and forgoing the fundamental principle of animation practice, the practice that has not been ruled by anyone and can be more loosely worked on.  I believe this article can be an initial step to overcome a fixed mindset of animation.

Nenagh Watson. “Ephemeral Animation” Performance Research (9 Apr 2015): 12-17. Online.

Article Link: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/276122134_Ephemeral_Animation

By Thanut Rujitanont on 2021-04-01

Essay 1: My Animation

I have been in the field of animation for a while, not long as a veteran but enough to observe things. Even the animation seems like one of the most interdisciplinary arts due to the particular nature itself, the current recognition of animation is still mainly limited to animations on-screen in theatre which hugely restrain the growth and the possibilities of animation. For me, the animations on-screen are not what I mostly am interested in. The other aspects of animation that remain ignored by far too many animation makers are not less than intriguing. How are the raw materials in animation treated and taken care of, how does the making process go with the creator’s imagination, how is an animation perceived by the spectators, and how does the appreciation of animation relate to the spectators’ live experience that are not merely about the animated content and the animated visual? This kind of question has been revolving around me all along. The space of animation is like an abyss of the sublime that I am diving into.

I believe animation is magical. The definition of animation might be defined in various ways according to specialists in each area as every practice, however, explore what is my animation and how can I work with it are really challenging and motivate me.

By Thanut Rujitanont on 2021-03-28