Workshop: The Visuality of Virtuality. Documenting Digital Animation

Workshop on New Technologies, Forms and Genres of Animation
23.–25.06.2021 | Ruhr-University Bochum | virtual

Virtuality is an ambivalent and difficult to define concept as it points to something that is present and not present at the same time, that enables ‘real actions’ in an ‘actually unreal’ environment, and that operates at the threshold of (f)actuality and potentiality, materiality and imagination. Thus, it challenges ideas of documentation, because documenting virtuality would somehow mean to capture its ‘unreal realness’ (or vice versa) and hence: to produce documents of the un/real.
But there are, of course, contexts in which virtuality ‘manifests’ itself and might become accessible for documentary practices – one of them being: digital animation. Especially contemporary ideas of virtuality are strongly linked to the technologies and aesthetics of computer-generated moving images – for example, when it comes to augmented reality apps on our mobile phones, game worlds on our computer screens, or virtual 360° settings that we explore via head-mounted displays. What virtuality is or might be (an affect, a perceptive mode, a dataset, an instant interplay of computable [inter]activity …?) is therefore mainly debated regarding this ‘visuality of virtuality’ associated with moving CGI. But not only is virtuality emerging from animation; likewise, digital animation itself is ‘a virtual thing’ as it is the result of digital interactive image practices carried out on screens through the use of software, hardware, and interfaces.
The workshop therefore wants to focus on the specific ‘visuality of virtuality’ that is defined by and at the same time defines digital animation. To achieve that, we want to look at ‘documenting digital animation’ in the twofold sense of the phrase, both as a documentary tool of the virtual and as the virtual referent being documented. Focusing on the interrelations between documentation, animation, and virtuality thus might help to challenge and refine all three concepts.

The workshop is a cooperation of the DFG-Research Training Group Das Dokumentarische. Exzess und Entzug (Documentary Practices. Excess and Privation) (Bochum) with the DFG-Research Network Animation and Contemporary Media Culture. Challenges and Potentials of Animation Studies in the Digital Era (Potsdam).

The workshop will take place as a ‚virtual‘ event via Zoom. Please register until June 20th, 2021, if you want to take part, by writing an eMail to


Workshop Schedule

Wednesday, June 23rd 2021

9:30–11:00keynote INEA EHRLICH (Ben Gurion University of the Negev)
Virtual Documentaries and Mixed Realities
11:00–11:15coffee break
11:15–12:00impulse IFRANZISKA BRUCKNER (FH St. Pölten)*
VRinMotion – Expanding Stop-Motion and Motion-Capture in Virtual Environments
12:00–12:15coffee break
12:15–13:00impulse IIANNA TUSCHLING (Ruhr-University Bochum)
Animojis – Virtual Gestures and Affects
13:00–13:15wrap up & conclusions

Thursday, June 24th 2021

9:30–11:00keynote IIJOEL MCKIM (Birkbeck University of London)
Rendering Beyond Realism: The Diagrammatic and the Ecstatic in Digital Animation
11:00–11:15coffee break
11:15–12:00impulse IVJULIA ECKEL (Ruhr-University Bochum)*
Automatic Animation. Documenting and Demonstrating Digitality
12:00–12:15coffee break
12:15–13:00impulse VJANNIK MÜLLER (University of Siegen)
Documenting “Reality”? – Simulated Phenomena within Cartoon Worlds
13:00–13:15wrap up & conclusions

Friday, June 25th 2021

10:00–10:45impulse VIVERA SCHAMAL (University of Zurich)
Virtual Images: Visualizing the (Sub)Atomic World
10:45–11:00coffee break
11:00–12:00network meeting I
(internal meeting)
New Technologies, Forms and Genres of Animation
12:00–12:15coffee break
12:15–13:15network meeting II
(internal meeting)
Plannings & Publications

*Programme update: The presentations by Julia Eckel (Wed->Thu) and Franziska Bruckner (Thu->Wed) have been switched.