In his animation, Endangered Species, Tony White presents a puppet to represent ‘Everyman’ (White 2006, p.400). The puppet is animated as if manipulated by strings.
By contrast, in her video installation, Endangered Species (2006), choreographer, Shiobhan Davies, represents humanity as a body manipulating flexible rods. Movement of the rods reveals internal lines of force (energy):
Davies represents humanity as endangered. Housed in a museum vitrine (display case), her video installation archives a singularly powerful statement.
I use animation to represent humanity as energy systems.
Animations made to represent human vitality are being combined with visualisations of sustainable energy systems (powered by water, wind, and geothermal and solar heat).
The aim is to make empathic kinesthetic (bodily) connections between human and other systems of energy.
I have made many drawings of people, such as this one of a girl with a hoop, and am now combining using animation to express collective human energy:
The first animation towards a new project, ‘Animated Energies’, is Sustainability. This is set to a sound recording I made of the environmental scientist Mark Diesendorf when he spoke at a recent CAN (Climate Action Newtown) event.
The animation includes drawings that I made at the last National Folk Festival (Canberra). I drew people who I saw as energetic, with lines to reflect their vitality. The lines represent an ever-changing human form.
But do these lines best reflect Mark’s message, to talk to ‘every person we can’ about renewable energy?
Yesterday I showed the animation to two people. One (another artist) identified strongly with the lines. The other (not an artist) thought the figures were ‘weird’. Only after hearing the negative response did I recognise that I had drawn people who I had found ‘interesting’ (as well as energetic) and that may be seen as very different from the norm.
I also recognised that my style of drawing reflects my experience as a dancer. This does not reflect everyone’s experience of their body.
For my animated Everyman to appeal to ‘every person’, I need to make some changes. But I do not want to compromise the vitality of the work.
I will include more drawings that represent a wider range of people (drawn in city streets for example). Together with the folk festival drawings, these lines may better represent ‘Everyman’.
I had considered the idea of taking photographs of people and making tonal drop-out forms from these. But I don’t see people as static cut-out shapes. I see them as systems of flowing energy. This perception of people may seem weird to some people. However, as the philosopher Rob Siedel said (in con. 2008), ‘There is only one way of seeing the world: your way.’
There is clearly no one way to represent people that will be recognised by everyone. Nevertheless, perceptions can be expanded. My way of seeing people is now expanded by seeing the sense in another point of view.