Oct 26th 2018

Program 14: “Hannah Maitland” = Animation

Exhibition dates: Friday, October 5, 2018- Wednesday, November 7, 2018

“I’m sorry to say that all my drawings are self-portraits.” – Hannah Frank, 2013⁣

Program 14 presents “Hannah Maitland” = Animation, a celebration of Hannah Maitland Frank’s animation and moving image works, curated by Tien-Tien Jong, who writes:

“Hannah Maitland” = Animation. The title of this show—a raucous collection of animations, GIFs, video works, and flicker films—takes its inspiration from the artist’s first and middle names which, said together in quick succession, sounds like “animation.” This odd, coincidental correspondence between Hannah herself and the subject of her scholarly work (the history and technology of animation), is a natural association to make. As Hannah’s advisor Tom Gunning observed, “Hannah’s life and work was imbued with sparkling wit, a sense of humor and delight. She embodied animation in every sense of the word.”.

Hannah’s artistic practice of creating montages, GIFs, and animations was intimately linked to her writing and research, as well as her teaching, and functioned as a way to better understand how films are put together and how they miraculously, mysteriously “work.” Enviably for fellow graduate students and aspiring scholars, even her procrastination on social media was filled with creative energy. Friend and colleague Ian Bryce Jones notes, “In her own work, Hannah was just as meticulous as the Disney inkers whose work she excavated. She watched cartoons frame by frame, with an eye toward detail….Her Facebook feed was a treasure trove of tiny GIF-based arguments…teaching us all how to use images pedagogically along the way.”

The selected works on display in this Screen Share program by Hannah Frank radiate a sense of wonder and vibrate with joyful intensity. Rowdy, poetic, sphinxlike, and adventurous, they reflect the traces of Hannah’s scholarly pursuits and offer glimpses of her understandings of life. As her friend and fellow animation scholar Misha Mihailova wrote, Hannah understood many things: “She understood art and music and photography and writing and grief. She understood cats, the biggest mystery this universe has ever produced. She understood animation in ways that elevate the field itself.” Her films convey her academic discoveries, but they are also fascinating and fun, expressive of a boundless curiosity about the nature of the cinematic medium and her love for moving pictures, questioning where they came from, what they could be, what they was uniquely able to uncover, and how many ways there are to better know the world through film and animation. Together, the works seen here—whether briefly encountered in-between classes or binged several at a time—demonstrate the playfulness, attention to detail, celebrations of contingency, and flickers and flashes of the world, as captured by Hannah Maitland Frank.

Thank you to Jacob Blecher, James Rosenow, and Mikki Kressbach for supplying materials and video files. This show could not have been possible without their invaluable help, support, and friendship.

Hannah Frank (1984-2017), Assistant Professor of Film Studies at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington; author of essays on animation, labor, sound, and Soviet cinema; beloved colleague, comrade, and friend in the Department of Cinema and Media Studies. Her dissertation, “Looking at Cartoons: The Art, Labor, and Technology of American Cell Animation,” will be published in March 2019 as “Frame by Frame: A Materialist Aesthetics of Animated Cartoons” by the University of California Press.

Screen Share Video Gallery is a new venue for screen-based media at the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, designed as a way to showcase student work made in various production courses in DoVA, including Video, Animation and On Time & Space. This space will also host curatorial projects by students, alumni and guests from various Chicago art organizations. Located in the reception area outside of the Film and Video Screening Room (on the second floor of the Logan Center), Screen Share will function as a video lounge, showcasing programs of video, animation and new media on a rotating schedule.

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