Thesis title: Architecture and Film Animation: Visualizing and educating on the built environment through stop-motion and under-camera techniques
Supervisory committee: Dr. Carmela Cucuzzella, Dr. Cynthia Hammond, Prof. Luigi Allemano Started: 2018
Aristofanis Soulikias is a film animator and architect with a BArch from McGill University, an MA in Building Conservation from the University of York (UK), and a BFA with a Major in Film Animation from Concordia University. The sensibilities he developed having worked extensively on historic buildings in Greece and the UK, served him significantly in the making of an award-winning animated documentary on the precarity of Montreal’s downtown built and social fabric. The film’s capacity to successfully communicate its story across borders and different categories of people, with almost all of its images fabricated with paper-cut silhouettes and other tangible objects, moved manually in the stop-motion technique, prompted questions about the relevance of bodily ways of making animation to express physical space, materiality and atmosphere in the face of the ubiquity of CGI technologies.
These questions are expanded in his current research-creation PhD project, titled Sensing the city: revealing urban realities and potentials through handmade film animation, and supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, under the supervision of Dr. Carmela Cucuzzella (primary), Prof. Luigi Allemano, and Dr. David Howes at Concordia’s INDI programme. By examining the long-standing relationship between the moving image and
the city and architectural space in film animation on the one hand and delving into the world of the haptic with regard to animation, film, but also architectural drawing on the other, Aristofanis looks at the possible merits and benefits in consolidating a role for the human body in the film animation practice and its means of expression while drawing a parallel with the bodily ways cities can be perceived and, consequently, be built. This quest has become even more relevant and urgent at a time when a pandemic has accelerated society’s reliance on the digital image and when the necessity of physical
urban space is questioned. By engaging in a series of sensory explorations of urban spaces through his art, Aristofanis aims at revealing qualities of urbanity that only the animator’s direct physical involvement with each frame of film can reveal.