Accepted Paper:

Animation and archaeology  


Sean Harris (The Wild Boar Press)

Paper Short Abstract:

Is progressive thought and the ability to fully experience a moment clouded by the need to record and compartmentalise it? Einstein said that his relativity theory “occurred to me by intuition”. Are imagination and creativity legitimate archaeological tools, barred by the constraints of the relatively youthful concept of ‘science’?

Paper long abstract:

For the last five years I have made mixed media animated films, mostly in collaboration with a whole raft of 'ologists'; archaeologists, zoologists, geologists etc. Also integral to the making process is the input of indigenous community groups, not to mention creative types working in various media.

Prehistoric objects, archaeology, contemporary culture and landscape act as creative catalyst for these films, which although responses to the core material, are primarily works of imagination. I seek to tap into the knowledge, thoughts and (in particular) the 'hunches' of archaeologists and other specialists, generating a 'bank' of knowledge that brings a necessary integrity, logic or truth to the work. This is then further shaped by in-depth exploration of relevant places and creatively led dialogues with those that inhabit them.

Ultimately, by drawing on contemporary experience of a place, the nature of its physical reality and narratives and understanding relating to its past occupants, I seek to devise artworks that create conscious and sub-conscious resonances founded on fleeting moments of connection between past and present. Such resonances may perhaps be generated through common human 'emotional' reaction to archetypes, colour, sound, texture and the sharing of certain ephemeral experiences.

Moments such as these are reassuring; they bring perspective and represent continuity, circularity; a sense of universal order. In experiencing these moments of fundamental human truth, am I sharing a moment of connection with a prehistoric mind? And in actively seeking such experiences, do I as artist share the same fundamental aspiration as an archaeologist?

Panel S38
Pluralist practices: archaeology is nothing, archaeology is everything