Edge of Frame Talks

The opening event of the Edge of Frame Weekend 2018 was Between the Frames, an afternoon of talks by leading contemporary animators, academics and curators, addressing the histories, contexts and creative processes of experimental animation. These talks aimed to stimulate discourse around experimental animation, and there were opportunities for discussion throughout the afternoon. The event was curated by Edwin Rostron and hosted by Gary Thomas, Co-founder and Director at Animate Projects and Film Programme Manager, British Council. The speakers were Jessica Ashman, Jonathan Hodgson, Lilly Husbands, Herb Shellenberger, Birgitta Hosea, Steve Reinke and Peter Burr. The talks and discussion sessions were filmed and these films are presented below. Due to a technical problem it has sadly not been possible to present Jonathan Hodgson’s talk about his then work in progress ‘Roughhouse’, though the video of the subsequent discussion with Jonathan and Jessica Ashman is included.

After the Between the Frames talks is an audio recording of a Q&A between Lilly Husbands and Peter Burr that took place following the Peter Burr retrospective screening at Barbican, as part of the Edge of Frame Weekend 2018.

And following that is the often cited video essay that Alan Warburton made for the first Edge of Frame Weekend in 2016, and its 2017 sequel, both essential viewing for anyone interested in contemporary experimental animation.

Between the Frames, BFI Southbank, Friday 2nd March 2018

Jessica Ashman: I Don’t Protest, I Just Dance In My Shadow

Artist animator Jessica Ashman presents her visual essay film ‘I Don’t Protest, I Just Dance In My Shadow’, about navigating the art and animation world as a Black woman. Jessica discusses the research, making and journalistic discovery she undertook in finding other women of colour and Black women artists to interview for the project. Clips from Jessica’s film can be found here, here and here.

Jessica Ashman is a London based, BAFTA in Scotland award winning animator, artist and arts educator. She has worked with Animate Projects, UK Film Council and Arts Council England as well as having created arts educational projects for the ICA, The Wellcome Trust and the Tate Modern.


Unfortunately the video of Jonathan Hodgson’s talk ‘Roughhouse – a work in progress’ cannot be presented here due to a technical issue.


Discussion 01: Jessica Ashman and Jonathan Hodgson, chaired by Gary Thomas


Lilly Husbands: Mapping the Rhizome: Multiplicities of Experimental Animation

“In an effort to trace the evolution and legacies of experimental animation in contemporary moving image art and visual culture, this talk maps out some of the artistic, curatorial, academic and commercial forces that have shaped the ways we conceive of experimental animation as an art form.”

Lilly Husbands received her PhD in Film Studies from King’s College London in 2014. She has published book chapters and articles on experimental animation in journals such as Moving Image Review & Art Journal (MIRAJ), Frames Cinema Journal, and Alphaville: Journal of Film and Screen Media. She is an associate editor of Animation: An Interdisciplinary Journal. She is the co-editor of a book entitled Experimental Animation: From Analogue to Digital, forthcoming from Routledge.


Herb Shellenberger: Bend Me, Shape Me: The Animated Body and Self-Expression
“Experimental animation can allow artists to represent their internal feelings, desire, sexuality and bodily experience in highly complicated, abstract or metaphorical ways. In this talk, a series of case studies are shown to display how artists have used animation to articulate these highly personal, sometimes intangible and complicated experiences through physical morphology of the bodies shown in their films, either representations of their own body mediated through animation or quasi-human and non-human forms. The talk covers film and moving image works by Lisa Crafts, Jacolby Satterwhite, Sky David and more.”

Herb Shellenberger is a curator and writer originally from Pennsylvania and based in London. He has curated screenings at institutions such as Irish Film Institute, Light Industry (Brooklyn), Lightbox Film Center (Philadelphia), LUX (London), New York University and Tate Modern (London). Since 2016, he has been Associate Programmer for Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival (Berwick-upon-Tweed, UK).


Birgitta Hosea: Made by Hand
“Despite the commercial adoption of digital production methods, the attraction of laborious hand-made methods for making animation persists in the independent sector. What ideas and assumptions can be seen to underpin the notion of craft and crafting? This presentation critically reflects on ‘craftivism’ and the implications of working by hand.”

Dr Birgitta Hosea is an artist, animator and curator who works in the field of expanded animation. She has exhibited widely in the UK and internationally, has been the recipient of numerous awards and artists’ residencies and her work is included in the Tate Britain archive. She is Reader in Moving Image at UCA and was previously Head of Animation at both RCA and Central Saint Martins.


Discussion 02: Lilly Husbands, Herb Shellenberger and Birgitta Hosea, chaired by Gary Thomas


Steve Reinke: Five Micro-Lectures on Animation
Using aphorisms and anecdotes, Reinke attempts to distill the most interesting and productive ideas about animation he has come across.

Steve Reinke is an artist and writer best known for his monologue-based video essays. He is co-editor (with Chris Gehman) of the book “The Sharpest Point: Animation at the End of Cinema.” He lives in Chicago and teaches at Northwestern’s Art, Theory, Practice program.


Edge of Frame Weekend 2018 Guest Artist Talk: Peter Burr
Peter charts a trajectory from a comix/zine culture of the late ’90s to his independent animation practices of that same era, connecting to a larger discussion about alternative methods of media presentation. Peter’s talk followed a short presentation of ‘Descent‘, a computer virus made in collaboration with Mark Fingerhut, and Forma.

Peter Burr is an artist from Brooklyn specialising in animation and installation. His work has been presented across the world by institutions including Documenta 14, Athens; Le Centre Pompidou, Paris; and MoMA PS1, New York. In 2006 he founded the video label Cartune Xprez, through which he produced hundreds of live multimedia exhibitions and touring programs showcasing a multi-generational group of artists at the forefront of experimental animation.


Discussion 03: Steve Reinke and Peter Burr, chaired by Gary Thomas


Audio recording of a Q&A between Lilly Husbands and Peter Burr following the Peter Burr retrospective screening at Barbican, part of the Edge of Frame Weekend 2018 (audio starts at 01:00):



Spectacle, Speculation, Spam by Alan Warburton
A presentation made for the first Edge of Frame Weekend seminar at The Whitechapel Gallery, in December 2016. Artists, curators and academics were asked to explore where experimental animation practice sits in relation to independent animation, visual art, histories and institutions. Alan’s video essay ‘Spectacle, Speculation, Spam’ provoked much interest and discussion both at the seminar and beyond, spreading widely online and spurring Alan to make an equally fascinating follow-up in 2017, also included below.


Thanks to Kate Allen for filming and editing the Between the Frames talks, to BFI Southbank for hosting them, to all the speakers and audience members, and to Gary Thomas for hosting. The Edge of Frame Weekends in 2016 and 2018 were supported by Jerwood Charitable Foundation, Royal College of Art, and using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.