by Christopher Magee, Summer 2002
Event took place on May 17 and 24, 2002 at the Pacific Northwest
College of Art’s Computer Arts Center, Portland, OR
ASIFA-NW Flash Anijam featured participants
(in order of appearance):
What does one get when one mixes together a well-endowed computer lab, the local Flash Animation Guru, a crowd of curious and eager minds open to whatever’s behind the Green Door, and a guy with a desire to get out of the barn for a few hours to experience an urban setting? Why, the ASIFA NW Flash Anijam, bien sur!
The event assembled for a collective creative endeavor involving Macromedia Flash, a chunk of software code that has, over the past few years, given hope, freedom, and an articulated hunger for fifteen minutes of Internet Fame to many independent animators’ recognition-starved soul.
Inspired obtusely by International Rocketship founder Marv Newland’s “Anijam” (produced in 1984 and itself related to the Exquisite Corpse exercises of literary and visual surrealist artists of the past century), the Flash Anijam endeavored, on the humble plane, to allow individual expression within the framework of a larger piece based on a simple idea. Starting with the background of a vacant stage, each animator was encouraged to create a mobile entity which entered the scene and then performed, in place, a cycled behavior for several seconds, after which they were transferred to the back of the stage in order to allow the next personality to enter.
The end result would be the accumulation of a crowd of unrelated creatures engaged in idiosyncratic, repetitive behaviors not necessarily resembling this author's last college parties or a recent ASIFA meeting. In the interest of procedural coherence and a vaguely obvious educational subtext, Portland Flash Animation Black Belt and the current ASIFA Head of State (President) Chad Essley provided intriguing and useful demonstrations of Flash techniques and tips at several interval throughout both sessions, including the creation of animated graphic symbols, cutout style procedures, and movement tips including secondary and overlapping action.
Both of these sessions were pleasantly well attended, and I am happy to report that members of the related realms of design and animation coexisted without unseemingly incident or the need for a qualified translator, fostering the hope for increased future interaction between these two groups.
Thanks again to all who participated and gave me final files. I would like to extend many appreciations to Lennie Pitkin and Brennen Florey of PNCA for graciously permitting the use of their facilities, to Chad Essley for his expertise and assistance before and during the event, and especially to all the participants of the Anijam, who made it real.