Voyages into Animation.
From Émile Reynaud to Second Life
The texts that make up the recently released Viaggi nell'Animazione. Da Émile Reynaud a Second Life, a book edited by Matilde Tortora and published by Tunuè Editori, show how, and to what extent, animation itself is a generator of this most innovative present. That is, while it actively plays a role as a driving force too in the fervid scenario of the future of cinema. This is a future that animation is also configuring.

Viaggi nell'animazione Tortora's book is dedicated to the late Simona Gesmundo, a scholar whose premature passing is most regretted. The work begins with the innovative studies by Simona on artificial intelligence as applied to cinema, and particularly to animation. Esteemed experts in the field (Luciana Bordoni, Patrizia Cacciani, Mario Franco, Mario Gerosa, Gianni Rondolino, Matilde Tortora, Nunziante Valoroso) and famous animators (John Canemaker, Oscar 2006, the great Bruno Bozzetto and Michel Ocelot, Cèsar and Cannes Animation Award) create an excursus into the world of animation. For the first time in Italy this is taken right up to Artifical Intelligence and Second Life.

It is precisely for this reason that the essays and interviews presented in Viaggi nell'animazione become veritable itineraries into animation, through its history and various techniques: from its nineteenth-century precursors to silent film, from animated drawings to Plasticine dolls, from silhouettes to 3D computer graphics, from the cinema of Second Life to the use of artificial intelligence programmes to make "autonomous" figures that move in digital environments. It is an anthology of invaluable presentations that reflect, for students, animation fans, and professionals in the sector, a world that is today as complex and fascinating as ever. Though some of the animators and scholars who have contributed texts to this book did not have the pleasure of knowing Simona personally, they were all known to her. She was, in addition to author, an active researcher in artificial intelligence as applied to cinema. A characteristic of cinema is that it has always served as fertile terrain for constant interaction between individuals, whether they are involved in creating it, commercialising it, or are experts, viewers, or authors.

To write and reflect on cinema has always been fruitful. In fact, there are books that even after decades still offer insights and spark new realisations today. There are works that are as interesting as they are useful (and fun) to read. These works act as decoders of the present day for us, we who are often such busy and distracted inhabitants. And this is one of the aims of this book too. Like a trajectory, the collection of essays in this work by some of Italy's foremost experts - and the contribution, in the form of interviews, of three auteurs of international stature - take us on a voyage into animation. We travel from its nineteenth-century origins right up to the recent developments of computer experimentation by "intelligent agents" and the virtual world of Second Life.

The cover of Viaggi nell'Animazione. Da Émile Reynaud a Second Life is a splendid original illustration, created specially for the book by short-film animators, the artists Simone and Julia Massi. The inside of the back cover offers a detail from a frame of the animated short "Molloy" by Simona Gesmundo.

Matilde Tortora - Professor of History and Film Critic, Tortora is the author of several books on cinema that have published also in various translations. She is a member of the Cinémathèque Français, ASIFA, and the Italian association "Ricerche per la Storia del Cinema". She is on the International Jury for the Award "Simona Gesmundo Animation Shorts" that she conceived and directs. In 2000, Matilde Tortora was bestowed the Culture Award by the Italian Prime Minister.




Copyright © 2006 Associazione del Premio Simona Gesmundo C.F.95074410630