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  • George Samuels

Cultural Animation, Totemism & Patterns

“To understand is to perceive patterns” ~Jason Silva (Performance Philosopher)

It’s hard to talk about symbols and totemism (Element #3 of Cultural Animation), without identifying patterns. Understanding occurs when you’re able to look back, connect the dots, and see patterns in the way things are formed. For ancient and indigenous cultures, these patterns or synchronicities were recorded through their stories. Some were ritualized and even absorbed into the day-to-day culture of these peoples.

In Cultural Animation (remember, here we are talking about digital cultural animation), we find these patterns expressed in the teachings passed down to us from masters before our time. Walt Disney, along with his own team of greats, managed to take these patterns observed throughout his career and formulate them into the 12 Basic Principles of Animation. By observing and recording these patterns, we help those ahead of us gain a better understanding of the world without having to start from scratch. Although nothing can replace pure experience, theories and stories have their place in helping to accelerate or enhance experiences.

Since animators usually have to learn how to draw, the animation experience becomes even more enriching when they start to see the patterns in the objects or environments they record. Take for example, Leonardo Da Vinci. This man was a veracious recorder, whose curiosity found him bouncing from one observation to the next. But through all this recording, he started to see patterns and revelations. He may not have found a way to turn his drawings into movement, but he turned the essence of his discoveries into what we now know as robotics and aerodynamics (to name a few).

So this brings us back to the importance of recording your experiences. Whether it is in diary form (writing or drawing your experiences for the day) or audio-visual form (putting up video blogs or uploading a podcast). The importance of doing this is not only for one’s Self, but also for the consciousness of humanity. Once we have a base from which to analyze, we can start to recognize the patterns in our lives and form wiser choices for our futures. All great artists, and animators, will understand the importance of having a sketchbook or diary. You never know when your work may be transmitted to someone in the far future, revealing great things that you may have taken for granted.