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Member Area
Venice Biennale

It would be nice to do something political (AIS 22)

Animate! Eye Eye Eye

Animate! Eye Eye Eye – making clear intentions in three recent ‘animated’ films. By Gary Thomas

The animate! project offers animators and artists a space to make work, but also raises the challenge of questioning what ‘animation’ means in the context of the visual arts, as opposed to industry practice. We’ve been happy to simply pose the question and allow all responses; not ducking the issue, exactly, but waiting for the right moment. The burgeoning of practice and exhibition activity suggests that a critical debate around animation and the visual arts is just about taking off.Recent gallery shows that have focused on animation or work that explored the idea of animation, include The Animators at Angel Row, Nottingham, Blink (Gasworks, London), and the Animation Videotheque at Site, Sheffield. Animated work was a strong presence at the last Venice and Berlin biennials, and at New Contemporaries, and there’s the Pervasive Animation Symposium at Tate Modern.

The trigger response to ‘animation’ from visual arts folk is now less likely to be ‘Kentridge’.Christine in the cutting roomThe Cinematic Embodiment of Transsexual Celebrity Christine Jorgensen. By Susan StrykerChristine Jorgensen became the world’s first transsexual celebrity in 1952, at age 26, when news of her genital transformation surgery made headlines around the world. The New York native of Danish descent remained in the media spotlight for more than two decades, and it was largely through attention to her that the phenomenon of transsexuality entered into widespread public consciousness.

During 1953, when hydrogen bomb tests vaporized atolls in the Pacific, England crowned a new queen, Jonas Salk invented the polio vaccine, and war raged on the Korean peninsula, more words appeared in newsprint about Jorgensen than about any other single topic. Extremely shy and introverted before her gender transition, Jorgensen developed a lucrative nightclub act that earned her upwards of $5000 a week throughout the 1950s. She published a best-selling autobiography in the 1960s (which was adapted as a trashy exploitation bio-pic), and in the 1970s had a second career as a highly sought-after speaker on the college lecture circuit. Even in the 1980s, as Jorgensen’s star-power dimmed, she made frequent appearances on television talk shows and at public events, until her death from bladder cancer in 1989, at age 62.