Ecstatic Truth symposium: programme

DATE: 8th April, 2022

Location: Vysoka Skola Kreativni Komunikace, Prague, Czech Republic (+ online)

Ecstatic Truth is an annual symposium that explores issues arising from the interface between animation (in all its expanded forms) and documentary (conceptualised very broadly as non-fiction), with a particular interest in the questions raised by experimental and practitioner perspectives. According to Werner Herzog, mere facts constitute an accountant’s reality, but it is the ecstatic truth (a poetic reality) that can capture more faithfully the nuances and depths of human experiences. Given that animation (or manipulated moving image in all of its expanded forms) has the freedom to represent, stylise or reimagine the world, it lends itself well to this aspirational form of documentary filmmaking.

For this, our 6th symposium, held in Prague in collaboration with the Tangible Territory journal, our theme is “to attend”.

To Attend : to be present at; to go to; to pay attention to; to look after; to take charge of; to be present with; accompany


Professor Birgitta Hosea, Animation ResearchCentre, UCA Farnham, UK

Dr. Pedro Serrazina, Universidade Lusófona, Lisbon, Portugal

Dr. Tereza Stehlikova, University of Creative Communication, CZ

DATE: 8th April, 2022

Location: Vysoka Skola Kreativni Komunikace, Prague, Czech Republic (+ online)


Welcome: 10.00

Lev Manovich, USA/Korea (online)
10.15- 11.15

11.15 – 11.45
Surrounded by Avatars: Animated Virtual Documentaries in Hybrid Realities
Nea Ehrlich, Israel

Break 11.45-12.00

12.00 – 12.30
“Nazaré Imersiva”: exploring old and new immersive media to create a sense of presence in Portuguese seascapes
Célia Quico, Portugal

12.30 – 13.00
Levinasian ethics and animated documentary practice: attending to the alterity participants
Alex Widdowson, UK

LUNCH 13.00 – 14.00

14.00 – 14.40
KEYNOTE: Lucas Battich, Germany

Sharing more than a visual world

14.40 – 15.10
Sensing Chapel Island; animation as a process of witnessing the ongoing becoming of Place
Pamela Turner, USA (online)

15.10 – 15.40
Eliciting human perception of nature in animated films
Samaneh Yasaei, France

15.40 – 17.00
Coffee break

17.00 – 17.30
Attention economy and ecology through animation time-lapse in “The Green Planet”
Cathy Greenhalgh, UK

17.30 – 18.10
Film screening of student work from FAMU and UMPRUM.




Dr. Lev Manovich is one of the leading theorists of digital culture worldwide and a pioneer in the use of data science for analysis of visual culture. Manovich is the author and editor of 15 books including Cultural Analytics, AI Aesthetics, Theories of Software Culture, Instagram and Contemporary Image, Software Takes Command, Soft Cinema: Navigating the Database and The Language of New Media which was described as “the most suggestive and broad-ranging media history since Marshall McLuhan.” He was included in the list of “25 People Shaping the Future of Design” in 2013 and the list of “50 Most Interesting People Building the Future” in 2014. Manovich is a Presidential Professor at The Graduate Center, CUNY, and a Director of the Cultural Analytics Lab. The lab created projects for the Museum of Modern Art (NYC), New York Public Library, Google, and other organizations. Manovich’s latest book “Cultural Analytics” was published by The MIT Press in Fall 2020.

Dr Lucas Battich is a postdoctoral philosopher and cognitive scientist at the Institut Jean Nicod in Paris. He obtained a doctorate from the Graduate School of Systemic Neurosciences in Munich, on how different senses shape joint attention and, conversely, how joint attention can affect perception across modalities. His research is focused on social cognition and perception, combining tools from philosophy of mind, experimental psychology and psychophysics. Before coming to Munich and Paris, he studied philosophy, fine arts, and cognitive science at the University of Dundee, the Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam, and Radboud University Nijmegen.

Other selected speakers:

Dr. Nea Ehrlich is a lecturer in the Department of Arts at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel. She completed her PhD in the Department of Art History at the University of Edinburgh and was a Polonsky postdoctoral fellow at The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute. She is the author of articles on realism, serious games, animation and documentary. Her research appears in Animation: an Interdisciplinary Journal, Studies in Documentary Film and Visual Resources, she is co-editor of Drawn from Life, the 2018 anthology about animated documentaries published by Edinburgh University Press (Runner-Up for Best Edited Collection 2020 by the British Association of Film, Television and Screen Studies (BAFTSS) Awards). Her work lies at the intersection of Art History, Film Studies, Animation, Digital Media Theory, Gaming and Epistemology. Her book, Animating Truth, on animated documentary and the virtualization of culture in the 21st century was published in 2021 by Edinburgh University Press. She is currently working on a project on art and robotics, focusing on AI and machine vision.

Cathy Greenhalgh is an artist, film-maker (director-cinematographer), lecturer and media anthropologist living in London, UK. She makes ethnographic essay documentaries and short art films for cinema and gallery spaces. She publishes on film-making practices and communities of practice, cinematographic phenomena and aesthetics. After retiring from working full time in higher education she continues on a freelance basis and returned to art practice, specifically collage, during the pandemic. Her varied praxis has ecological, cultural and political undertones. The sensory ethnographic and material culture basis underlying her research foregrounds historiography and spectrality, collaboration and technical innovation, rather than primarily theoretical interpretation.

Célia Quico is a professor and researcher at Lusófona University since 2009. She has a PhD in Communication Sciences from Universidade Nova de Lisboa. Main areas of interest are immersive media, interactive media, media literacy, digital heritage, sustainable and creative tourism. Celia Quico teaches in the Cinema and Video, plus the Communication Sciences and Sound Sciences graduate courses, master degree course KinoEyes and also PhD courses Communications Sciences and Media Arts. Also, she is co-coordinator of MeLCi Lab: Media Literacy and Civic Cultures Lab, a laboratory of CICANT leaded by Maria José Brites. Currently, she participates in following research projects: LusofonAtiva (ILIND/2020), MuSEAum “Branding de ‘Museus de Mar’ de Portugal” (LISBOA-01-0145-FEDER-029755), FilmEU (101004047, EPP-EUR-UNIV-202), YouNDigital (PTDC/COM-OUT/0243/2021). Recent finished projects include Nazaré Imersiva (CICANT/ILIND/2019), in which she was Principal Investigator (PI).

Pamela Taylor Turner’s animation practice explores and interrogates the intuited connection to, and experience of, the more-than-human world. Her scholarship is in the history and practice of animation, following connections to visual effects, abstraction, phenomenology, animism, and new media practices. She is the biographer of the late animator Adam Beckett (Infinite Animation: The Life and Work of Adam Beckett, CRC Press, 2019) and serves as the Chair of the Board of Directors for the Society for Animation Studies. An associate professor in the department of Kinetic Imaging at Virginia Commonwealth University, she teaches courses in expanded animation, theory and history. She has certificates in Ecopsychology and in Enchantment from the Retreat at the Pacifica Graduate Institute.

Alex Widdowson is the Wellcome Trust PhD candidate on the Autism through Cinema project at Queen Mary University of London and animation lecturer at the University of Hertfordshire. His practice-based research attempts to deepen knowledge about autism representation and animated documentary ethics. He has won nine awards for his films, most recently the AHRC’s Research in Film Award for best doctoral and early career film. He has been using animation in a documentary context since 2011, focusing on the medium’s potential to address the topics of psychological and neurological difference.

Samaneh Yasaei is a video artist and researcher based in Paris. She studied cognitive science and recently completed her PhD at the École normale supérieure in Paris. With her background in illustration and painting, she started making animated films in 2012. Her research approach on perception is rooted in her practice in making experimental animated films. She is currently working on experimental films and their contribution to the ecological discussion.

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