Conference language: English
About the project
The animated visualizations of the “invisible” sides of reality, like black holes or atoms, are mostly offered to the audience “as they are”, without any warning that they are scientific models based on non-optical evidence. Because of this, they get misunderstood for true-to-nature representations, and as such they circulate also in audio-visual entertainment, reinforcing the wrong belief that those objects would exactly look like that, if they were to be seen by the human eye. This is the case of objects at macroscopic cosmological scales (black holes, quasars, neutron stars), or at atomic and sub-atomic scales (atoms, quarks, strings), or too far away in time (extinct life forms). As remarked by Silvye Bissonette in 2014, "one of the major problems associated with such animated models is the lack of instructions on how to interpret them and judge their accuracy"; in 2016, Vincent Campbell concurred that "of particular concern [...] is the possibility of a lack of transparency for the audience of the shift from the evidentiary nature of the documentary image to a much more speculative and constructed image". The enhanced photorealism and interactivity of contemporary animation has a key role in this, especially after 1980 when the technology of animation started to allow for this aesthetics.
Visit the "Project Figuring the Invisible".
About the conference
The conference, part of the MSCA global research project FICTA SciO will be intended as a survey to identify and raise awareness about the audiovisual conventions and communication tactics of animation in multimedia science outreach, in respect to the representation of invisible objects (too big, too small, too far away in space and time).
The main disciplinary field of the conference is animated documentary, a major point in the Animation Studies agenda (Honess Roe, 2013). It is also based on the epistemology of scientific communication; as Daston and Galison argued (2007), "truth-to-nature" objectivity is being superseded by visuals balancing art and science. Merleau-Ponty (1964) had previously called for an equilibrium between objectivity and subjectivity in science outreach, due to the new “invisible” frontiers of knowledge.
The confernce invites to approach the issue with the critical methodology of film and animation studies. However, an interdisciplinary dialogue will also be sought, with experts and consultants.
Closing date for Call for Paper: October 20, 2023
The conference program will be posted here from mid-November.
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