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Andy Holden: Laws of Motion in a Cartoon Landscape (2016, 57min)
Followed by a discussion between Andy Holden and Esther Leslie

Fri 7 October 2016, 18:00 – 21:00, Birkbeck Cinema.

The Vasari Research Centre for Art and Technology and BIMI present a series of events, curated by Joel McKim and Esther Leslie, exploring multiple dimensions of digital animation.

Employing the landscape of animated cartoons as a paradigm for what would happen after the end of history – and art history specifically – in ‘Laws of Motion in the Cartoon Landscape II’ Andy Holden dissects the rules behind the seemingly boundless universe of Looney Tunes and Silly Symphonies. What would happen, he posits, in a world where everything has already been done, and yet some actions invariably recur?

Holden’s speech alternates between referencing the realm of cartoons, annals of art history, and the real world – collaging clips from Disney, science documentaries, news broadcasts, and Warner Bros. As the video switches back and forth between the analysis of these different entities, the viewer loses track of the laws’ specificity and perceives the boundaries between worlds as increasingly blurred. Moreover, the audience is guided through the animated landscape by the voice and cartoon-avatar of the artist himself, whose ‘physical’ presence has trespassed the borders of reality and stepped into the cartoon world.

In this film, Holden identifies 10 laws that regulate cartoon characters’ interactions and their movement in space. The first law is probably the one we are the most familiar with: ‘Any body suspended in space will remain in space until made aware of its situation’. This is used as an example of how our world has become very similar to that of the cartoons. The Egyptian Revolution of 2011 and the burst of the financial crisis in 2008 are both described in the video as instances when society kept walking on thin air until forced to realise that their delusions had no grounding in reality.

An immersive two-channel video projection, ‘Laws of Motion’ encourages the viewer to re-examine contemporary society, the forces shaping it, and the laws governing it.

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