DESMA 172 Topics in Animation and Video

Experimental Animation: Then and Now                                                  


Fall Quarter ‘18

Mon & Wed 2:00PM – 4:50PM

Broad Art Center 4220


Lecturer: Jack Turpin,

Office Hour: After class Monday and Wednesday


TA: Lena Weissbrot,

Office Hour: 1pm Wednesdays, Room 4220


In this class, students will engage critically with experimentation in animated image making. Through screenings, readings, and class discussions students will become familiar with the legacy of experimental animation and will be challenged to reckon it with our contemporary moment. By looking to experiments of the past how can we better understand our present and find novel approaches to our future? No specific technical skills are required though students will be expected to draw upon their individual expertise for class projects.


Studio Projects: Students will be assigned two main projects. These projects will be graded on conceptual rigor, technical novelty, and overall aesthetic quality.

Participation: Participation will be a significant portion of your grade. It is here defined as the following: showing up to class, being on time, engaging with assigned readings, participating in class discussions and workshops, participating in critiquing your peers, asking questions, and coming to office hours.

Attendance: Students are required to attend class unless they have an excused absence or have otherwise cleared it with me. After three unexcused absences your grade will be lowered one letter for every further absence.


Project 1 = 20%

Project 2 = 40%

Participation = 40%

A = Someone who has gone all out, met their limits and surpassed them, thoroughly participated in class and made excellent work.

B = Someone who has made a significant effort, came close to their limits but didn’t try to surpass them, occasionally participated in class and made fairly developed work.

C = Someone who tried only the basic amount, didn’t come close to their potential, participated rarely or not at all, made work that only meets the basic requirements.

Commitment to Diversity and Plurality

We understand the classroom as a space for practicing freedom; where one may challenge psychic, social, and cultural borders and create meaningful artistic expressions. To do so we must acknowledge and embrace the different identities and backgrounds we inhabit. This means that we will use preferred pronouns, respect self-identifications, and be mindful of special needs. Disagreement is encouraged and supported, however our differences affect our conceptualization and experience of reality, and it is extremely important to remember that certain gender, race, sex, and class identities are more privileged while others are undermined and marginalized. Consequently, this makes some people feel more protected or vulnerable during debates and discussions. A collaborative effort between the students, TA, and instructor is needed to create a supportive learning environment. While everyone should feel free to experiment creatively and conceptually, if a class member points out that something you have said or shared with the group is offensive, avoid being defensive; instead approach the discussion as a valuable opportunity for us to grow and learn from one another. Alternatively if you feel that something said in discussion or included in a piece of work is harmful, you are encouraged to speak with the instructor or TA.

Center for Accessible Education Statement

Students needing academic accommodations based on a disability should contact the Center for Accessible Education (CAE) at 310-825-1501 or in person at Murphy Hall A255. When possible, students should contact the CAE within the first two weeks of the term as reasonable notice is needed to coordinate accommodations. For more information visit

Technology Policy

Phone / Laptop use in class is strictly prohibited during lectures, critiques, and screenings. However, during work time you are welcome to use technology to your heart’s content.

Week 1

10/1 – Introductions / Pre-Cinema History / Loops

10/3 – Direct Techniques / Crit Loops


Week 2

10/8  – Direct Techniques Workshop A

10/10 – Direct Techniques Workshop B


Week 3

10/15 – Puppet Animation

10/17 – Process Animation


Week 4

10/22 –  Visual Music

10/24 –  Performance / Public Animation


Week 5

10/29  – Concept Presentations for first project

10/ 31 – Studio Time


Week 6

11/ 5 – Crit first projects A

11/7 – Crit first projects B


Week 7

11/12 – Concept presentations for second project

11/14 – Studio Time


Week 8

11/ 19 – Studio Time

11/ 21 – Studio Time


Week 9

11/ 26 – Studio Time

11/ 28 – Studio Time


Week 10

12/3 – Studio Time / One on one critiques

12/5 – Final Crit / Screening / Party