• Designing a new documentary landscape: A renegotiation of documentary voice through animated collage

      Bosward, Marc; Bevan, Greg; University of Derby; University of Aberystwyth (Intellect, 2013-12)
      Documentaries represent issues and aspects of the socio-historical world. They do so through a selection and combination of audio and visual components. Inevitably, this practice makes intrinsic claims about documentary’s ability to represent the world both accurately and reliably. Facts, information, balance and reliability are the bedrock of documentary vocabulary. Comparatively few practitioners have genuinely interrogated the veracity of their craft; authenticity, evidence and objectivity remain central to the language of their practice. As the result of a mediated process, a documentary film is, at best, a crafted version of reality and its conventions are designed and developed to convince audiences of the authenticity of their particular representation of the world. Documentary’s traditional journalistic and pseudo-scientific status has hampered its development as a discursive art form capable of exploring a much broader sphere of human experience. Using a selection of still images, this article aims to contextualize, reflect on and illuminate the short, animated documentary Fforest (2009) by G. Bevan and M. Bosward. Drawing on the practice and principles of collage, the film seeks to expand the language of documentary production by deliberately undermining traditional approaches to knowledge, authority and fact. It explores potential new terrain for documentary by generating a non-realist, visual aesthetic that is not bound to traditional discourses of ‘sobriety’, whilst reaffirming the documentary as a composition which must be designed and assembled, in which authorial voice must be constructed rather than simply stated, and in which meaning is not necessarily explicit.
    • Forge

      Bosward, Marc; Shore, Tim; Poynton, Stuart; University of Derby (2014)
      Site-specific projection pieces exploring the architecture and history of the Derwent Valley Mills. The ‘Forge’ installation was part of the DerwentWISE ‘Pulse’ project and was installed in partnership with Quad, Derby. The collaborative work will be developed further through planned engagement with a range of national and international locations and historical narratives, with particular reference to industrialization and the societal impact of technological development.
    • ‘The Found Footage Composite: History, Hybridity and the Animated World’

      Bosward, Marc; University of Derby (02/09/2016)
      The paper will describe a practical methodology designed to deploy found footage, animation, digital compositing and special effects techniques to critically evaluate the ontological status of found footage in reference to materiality and truth-value. In this framework, the construction of non-real spaces that synthesise animation and found footage are explored for their potential in describing alternate histories with regards to memory and ideology. How can the material aspects of found footage be deployed within spatial and temporal collage films that challenge linear notions of memory and the past?
    • Fractured pasts: Found footage collage and the animated documentary

      Bosward, Marc; University of Derby (02/06/2017)
      The paper will present a body of practice-led research within experimental documentary and animation that interrogates the use of found footage as a historiographical strategy. The research examines the capacity of found footage collage in articulating the layered temporalities present in the formation of collective recollection. How can the materiality of found footage be deployed within spatial and temporal collage films that challenge linear notions of memory and the past? The methodology draws from visual ethnography with regards to intersubjectivity, multivocality and the immaterial aspects of human experience. The approach aims to challenge notions of unitary meaning, objectivity and truth in historical representation. Can the fragmented, hybrid aesthetic of the moving collage render the partial and irregular experience of remembering, evoking the contingent and furtive conditions of personal and collective pasts? The work deploys appropriation strategies that decontextualize and recontextualise found footage as a method of ideological interruption, releasing the mutable, multiple meanings that accumulate and shift in the confluence of competing discourses. The paper will describe temporal structures that privilege simultaneity, overlap and layering in constructing unstable images that foreground a dialogical conception of the past. How can found footage collage and animation, as a historiographical practice, expand the language of non-fiction films that address memory and time?
    • From pillar to post

      Bosward, Marc; Shore, Tim; Poynton, Stuart; University of Derby (2014-03)
      Site-specific projection pieces exploring the architecture and history of the Derwent Valley Mills. ‘From Pillar to Post’ was a digital animated film displayed at Strutt’s Mill Belper using projection-mapping technology as part of the launch for the refurbished and remodeled exhibition spaces.
    • From Pillar to Post (and back again): animation projection mapped onto the basement pillars of Strutt’s North Mill, Belper for a Museums at Night Event.

      Shore, Tim; Bosward, Marc; Mellor, Shane; Poynton, Stuart; University of Derby (2014-05)
      From Pillar to Post (and back again) was projected onto eight of the monumental mill-stone grit piers in the basement of Strutt’s North Mill - the pillars are all that is left of Jedediah Strutt’s first mill of 1786 that burnt down in 1803 – they form the foundation of the ‘new’ mill built in 1804. The abstract animation was composed of short sequences of choreographed blocks of light and colour that was mapped on to the blocky rectangular geometry of the pillars. The animation playback was synched to an audio track using Isadora software. Visitors were able to walk between the pillars affecting the animation by breaking the projection light beam and changing the animation sequences by adding their own audio in the form of shouting, clapping and stamping. Pillar to Post (and back again) created an immersive animation that the audience were able to walk into and affect by interrupting the audio track by making random sounds that changed the order and play of the animation. The audience were able to perform the animation.
    • 'I Speak about Myself to You' – Renegotiating the Voice of Documentary through Animation Aesthetics

      Bosward, Marc; Bevan, Greg; University of Derby; University of Salford (The Higher Education Academy, 23/06/2011)
      Documentary practice has long been encumbered with journalistic and pseudo-scientific expectations; the gathering of evidence, the balancing of material and the objective presentation of accurate and informative data. Overwhelmingly, documentary audiences are encouraged to believe in an objective reality and, by extension, to anticipate fidelity to it. Filmmakers' aesthetic choices are selected and organised to persuade the viewer that the resulting voice of the documentary is an honest, rational and sensible point of view. This paper will explore the documentary filmmaker's detachment from an obligation to deliver objective truth by applying the visual, aural and temporal distortions of animation to interrogate conventional notions of knowledge, reliability and authority. By taking a collaborative approach to the research project, the paper will explore the inherent transformative, non-representational and illusory nature of animation in relation to the construction of authorial voice for documentary. Drawing on the theory and practice of filmmakers Aleksandr Sokurov and Alexander Kluge, the paper will assess to what extent truth can be derived from expressionistic aesthetic components as readily as they can from the narration of factual information and photographic reality; can animation in documentary assimilate fiction into fact and synthesise truth and fantasy? Further, the paper will argue that the didactic voice of traditional, expository documentary encourages passive observation while animation can provoke a more poetic interpretation of the films' diegesis; how can the authenticity of documentary material be legitimised by foregrounding authorial mediation rather than attempting to camouflage subjectivity? The introduction of animation aesthetics into documentary realism offers the filmmaker a wider choice of expressive tools to define, extend and affirm their own personal voice. This paper will offer a practical assessment of these issues, offering new approaches for filmmakers to explore the epistemological resonance of their craft, and to extend the formal and thematic parameters that determine documentary's status as nonfiction testimony.
    • Illustrated worlds

      Bosward, Marc; Levesley, Richard; University of Derby (Association of Illustrators, 2013-10)
      The practice of the contemporary illustrator is no longer exclusively defined by the traditional orthodoxies of the commissioner and illustrator relationship. Contemporary Illustration has expanded the parameters of the discipline to include toys, games, animation, collectable objects, fashion and other forms of media and merchandising. This multi-disciplinary and authorial practice is often predicated on the creation of an identifiable, virtual ‘world’ that is manifest across an illustrator’s output, independent of variations in audience, purpose and subject matter. This paper will explore the illustrator’s use of visual language in constructing virtual, illustrated worlds.Drawing from a range of contemporary examples, the paper will explore the capacity of illustration to generate a virtual world that engages and absorbs its audience. The paper will argue that a sense of place established through non-representational approaches can address the actual, socio-historical world through the interpretation of the constructed world’s diegesis. The paper will also consider how a world is realised across personal and commercial outputs and the interrelationship and interface of authorial and commercial imperatives.
    • Illustrated worlds, virtual environments and authorial voice

      Bosward, Marc; Levesley, Richard; University of Derby (2013-01)
      The practice of the contemporary illustrator is no longer exclusively defined by the traditional orthodoxies of the commissioner and illustrator relationship. Contemporary Illustration has expanded the parameters of the discipline to include toys, games, animation, collectable objects, fashion and other forms of media and merchandising. This multi-disciplinary and authorial practice is often predicated on the creation of an identifiable, virtual 'world' that is manifest across an illustrator's output, independent of variations in audience, purpose and subject matter. This paper will explore the illustrator's use of visual language in constructing virtual worlds that define authorial voice. Drawing from a range of contemporary and historical examples, the paper will explore the capacity of illustration to generate a virtual world that engages and absorbs its audience. How does an illustrator use the language of exaggeration, distortion, symbolism and metaphor to construct a system of coherent signifiers that constitute a world that is repeatedly revisited across their practice? The paper will argue that a sense of place established through non-representational approaches can address the actual, socio-historical world through the interpretation of the constructed world's diegesis. An analysis of contemporary illustration in its relationship to genre and authorship will be discussed in relation to this premise. The paper will also consider how a world is realised across personal and commercial outputs and the interrelationship and interface of authorial and commercial imperatives. The paper will offer an assessment of these issues, offering approaches for illustrators to explore the intellectual, psychological and emotional resonance of illustrated worlds, and to extend the formal and thematic parameters that determine illustration's status as a narrative form.
    • Layers of meaning, layers of truth: fragmented histories and composited video collage

      Bosward, Marc; University of Derby (Royal College of Art, 14/05/2016)
      The paper will present a body of ongoing practice-based research that interrogates the interface of live-action and animation, specifically, how found footage as an indexical element of lived experience functions within the aesthetic of a constructed ‘other’ world. Particular focus is given to how video collage, containing found footage components composed in the spatial as well as temporal dimensions, construct non-fiction explorations of the socio-historical world from an ontological perspective. The research explores how found footage elements are deployed to address themes relating to memory and history, with regard to how collective impressions of history are constituted and socially assimilated.
    • Layers, traces and gaps: Collage, found footage and the contested past

      Bosward, Marc; University of Derby (23/06/2017)
      Critical realism is an anti-reductionist approach that asserts the independence of an external world whilst accepting that knowledge of that world is socially constructed and transient. It offers an intermediate position that reconciles the binary opposition of objectivism and subjectivism, challenging the ‘false choice’ (Lovell, 1981) between empiricist and idealist ontologies. In recognising the dense complexity of being and the social world, it advances a stratified reality comprised of co-dependent structures and mechanisms. The paper will describe a framework for practice research that uses found footage and animated collage within a critical realist methodology. The research deploys strategies that privilege simultaneity, overlap and hybridity in articulating layered temporalities that foreground a dialectical conception of history. The practice explores how critical realist collage can challenge essentialist, unitary historical narratives that suppress the interdependence and complexity of socio-historical phenomena. Can the partial and irregular experience of remembering, evoking the contingent and furtive conditions of personal and collective memory be rendered through the aesthetic of moving collage? In reference to animated documentary, the work investigates how spatial and temporal found footage collage can expand the language of non-fiction films that address memory and the past. The paper will argue that the deeper understanding of memory and history that critical realism offers could be apprehended through the construction and mediation that the vocabularies of animation and collage contain.
    • Life Goes On

      Bosward, Marc; University of Derby (17/06/2016)
      Digital collage artworks included in group show: Juxtaposition an exhibition of contemporary collage and video art at The Museum of Club Culture, 17th June - July 10th. Curated by Mark Wigan and Kerry Baldry.
    • Manifest destiny, violence and transcendence

      Bosward, Marc; University of Derby (09/09/2011)
      My principal area of interest is using digital media within a cross-disciplinary methodology that incorporates drawing, painting, collage, typography, moving image and writing.The primary theme that concerns the work contained within the exhibition is the human psychologies’ innate need to transcend the isolation of individual existence. Particular focus is given to the destructive and violent expressions of that need from a societal perspective. This central premise underpins the attempt to explore various sociological phenomena, historical and contemporary, related to authoritarianism, conformity and armed conflict.
    • Manifest destiny, violence and transcendence – an artist’s statement

      Bosward, Marc; University of Derby (University of Salford Press, 2012)
      My principal area of interest is using digital media within a cross-disciplinary methodology that incorporates drawing, painting, collage, typography, moving image and writing.The primary theme that concerns the work contained within the exhibition is the human psychologies’ innate need to transcend the isolation of individual existence. Particular focus is given to the destructive and violent expressions of that need from a societal perspective. This central premise underpins the attempt to explore various sociological phenomena, historical and contemporary, related to authoritarianism, conformity and armed conflict.
    • A Mixed History: Colliding Realities and the Hybrid Aesthetic

      Bosward, Marc; University of Derby (31/05/2016)
      With reference to historiography, the paper will ask how found footage can be manipulated to create alternate histories that challenge orthodox, ‘grand’ narratives within a hybrid aesthetic that foregrounds the diversity of its components, producing deliberate stylistic and ontological discontinuities. The practice echoes the ubiquity and malleability of video material in contemporary communications and media and examines the reliability and authenticity of the video image as a historical document. The work interrogates appropriation strategies that decontextualize and recontextualise found footage as a method of ideological interruption, releasing the mutable, multiple meanings that accumulate and shift in the confluence of competing discourses.
    • 'Reality fragments' - Found footage, video collage and non-fiction

      Bosward, Marc; University of Derby (12/06/2015)
      Paper presented to the MeCSSA and Journal of Media Practice Symposium ‘Language/Voice’, Aberystwyth University, 12 June 2015
    • Rebirth: a light and sound show. Animation projection mapped onto the windows of Strutt’s North Mill

      Shore, Tim; Bosward, Marc; Poynton, Stuart; University of Derby (2014-03)
      Rebirth is a series of looped abstracted animations, made by Poynton and Shore, with sound by Bosward, that was projected onto the windows of the first floor and basement of Strutt’s North Mill Belper as part of the celebrations to mark the museum’s Summer Opening event. The work references the elemental forces that helped shape the mill including fire, water and iron. Strutt’s North Mill was built in 1804 and is one of the oldest surviving examples of an industrialised, iron framed ‘fire proof’ building. Animation sequences were constructed using a convoluted and slow process that draws on both digital and analogue practices. In constructing a ‘slow animation’ sequence the actual animation or movement is made visible to the animator. Through an engagement with a range of machine processes (both analogue and digital) the work is able to foreground the artificial nature of animation, commenting on both animation’s craft legacy and its constructed nature.
    • The shape of my thoughts

      Baggaley, Phil; Brown, Michael; Bosward, Marc; Poynton, Stuart; Thorpe, Hayley; University of Derby (2016-03)
      An immersive multimedia Installation consisting of multi-channel Ambisonics surround-sound audio and animated 3D projection. Our intention was to produce a multimedia installation incorporating the animation of avian-like murmuration events synchronised to sound and music. The primary objective was to construct an audio/visual experience that loosely expresses an absent narrative. We wanted to explore the dynamics of multidisciplinary collaboration observing and recording the exchanges and expressive negotiations between composers and animators to produce an immersive expressive design. The piece employed large-scale digital projection and ambisonic surround sound. The installation was also displayed as part of the at ‘Nature Connections’ Festival in September 2015 and was featured on BBC’s Autumn Watch red button content. More recently, the piece was presented at the The International Festival for Innovations in Music Production and Composition at Leeds College of Music. The piece is the first installment of a planned trilogy of works that will extend and develop the collaborative experimentation with animation and sound in the production of immersive installation and performance.
    • Stratified realities: convergence and mediation in non-fiction collage film.

      Bosward, Marc; University of Derby (07/09/2018)
      Positivist thinking has been highly influential on the development of documentary film in the English-speaking world. Brian Winston (1995) argues that this is explained by the perception of the camera as a scientific instrument that provides the facility to deliver an unmediated reality intact to the viewer. This conceit has been central to documentary production in the English speaking cannon, underpinning the truth claims of direct cinema and its observational, objective ethos. In contrast, Documentary filmmakers such as Adam Curtis and Joshua Oppenheimer, working within strategies that openly embrace the synthesis of documentary with experimental and fictional practice, have suggested that the language of non-fiction must develop new tools for adequately addressing the heterogeneity and plurality of the social world. This implies that the complexity of unequal relations determining social forces cannot be adequately described by conventional documentary representation, particularly those conventions tied to tenets of objectivity and balance. The research aims to address this need by developing non-fictional collage as a method for interrogating the mechanisms that shape the social world. The project’s practical methodology emphasises fabrication, simultaneity and layering as tools with the potential to extend the vocabulary of documentary film. The paper will present a body of practice research that explores the intersection of collage, found footage film, animation, documentary and critical realism. The practice investigates digital compositing, hybridity and the capacity for spatial layering to generate an intermediate, unstable aesthetic that cannot be assigned to any singular, unitary ontological level. The paper argues that these conditions provoke an elasticity and ambiguity that dissolves binary distinctions between mimesis and abstraction, reflecting the non-dualist standpoint of critical realism at a medial point between positivist and idealist perspectives. The research deploys the particular constructedness and intermediality of collage as a disruption to ideologically conditioned appearance forms. This posits the practice as a challenge to reductive accounts of the socio-historical world in dominant visual cultures under capitalism. The paper claims that in contrast to unmediated live action images, the hybridity of collage has the potential to more adequately describe the complexity and contingency of reality. The paper explores the layered composite of colliding images as the locus of collage as political discourse. This lies in its facility to surpass the limitations of the monovalent image through the dialectical tension of simultaneity and coexistence. The capacity of collage to describe the interdependence and complexity of socio-historical phenomena is underpinned by the critical realist concept of stratified reality, an idea that advances an ontology comprised of co-dependent structures and mechanisms. The project draws from theoretical debates in experimental and animated documentary that assert the legitimacy of explicit construction and fabrication in non-fictional address. The paper argues that the persistence of collage lies in its continuing relevance as a process of working through and negotiating the complexity of an increasing interconnected and disorientating world.