May 27, 2024

Gwyneth Zeleny Anderson playfully explores the impermanence and discomfort of everyday human experience. Most of their work uses a frame-by-frame animation process, combining traditional cartoon production techniques with installation, sound, printmaking, and performance. They approach animation as a metaphor about the nature of reality: building a sequence frame-by-frame is a meditative reminder about the inevitability of change, and a prayer or spell for breaking down illusions of separation. What results is the spillage, cartoonishness, and relatability of living in a body.

Gwyneth has presented work in the US and abroad, including at Roman Susan, the Experimental Sound Studio, Weinberg/Newton Gallery, the Chicago Cultural Center, Roots & Culture, and 6018 NORTH in Chicago; MoMA PS1 Print Shop in New York; Peephole Cinema in San Francisco; FRISE in Hamburg; and Utopiana in Geneva. They are currently a Printmaking and Book Arts artist-in-residence at Flower City Arts Center in Rochester, NY, and will begin the Sculpture MFA program at Tyler School of Art and Architecture in autumn 2024.

I worked on “Spotlight”, a site-specific, live animation performance which transforms rocks, mud, dead plants, and plastic bits from the immediate environment into shifting shapes of light. I created a series of objects which served as animation frames to improvise with: these included 3 bundles of dead leaves tied together with string; 3 strips of plastic trash with slits in each, through which I stuck pinecone scales, pine needles, and twigs; and a series of 9 stones whose shapes formed a morphing sequence of shapes: a narrow stone lengthening into a wide triangle, stretching into a rectangle, and returning back to a narrow shape. I would also roll up a fresh leaf and capture a smooth movement of the leaf unfurling.

I developed a system of inverting my screen and switching to grayscale, manipulating the natural detritus on a giant lightbox, animating in DragonFrame and looping playback in real time, sending the feed to Signal Culture’s Video Mixer Modular App via Spout, and projecting the animation onto different surfaces. I presented Spotlight on the last night of my residency, projecting onto the edge of the forest by the Stull Observatory. While animating, I responded to the shapes and distances of plants in real time, a sort of analog projection mapping process. There was also a simple text score facing the audience: “soundtrack: the movement of your attention”. It was an exercise in perceiving how attention itself can be an object of attention, witnessing how our focus changes, and inviting reflection on the human/land relationship.

Spotlight Test, Work Sample I.

Spotlight Test, Work Sample II.

Leslie Rollins, Expanded Media’s New Media & Electronic Arts Technician, giving Gwyneth an overview of Signal Culture’s Video Mixer Modular App.

Gwyneth testing work in Expanded Media’s Installation Space.

Gwyneth, during their live-animation performance of Spotlight at The Stull Observatory. Photo by Charlie Manion.

Two-color Risograph Poster for Gwyneth’s live-animation performance Spotlight.

Spotlight, Work Sample Still I.

Spotlight, Work Sample Still II.