The academic journal Animation Practice, Process & Production (known as AP3), is one of the most highly-ranked international journals in animation studies, and the only one that foregrounds both theory and practice. Published annually by Intellect, AP3 was established in 2011 by animation theory pioneer Professor Paul Wells, of Loughborough University, UK.
In March 2020, Wells stepped down from his editorship of the journal and passed the mantle to Dr Miriam Harris of AUT and Dr Samantha Moore of the Royal College of Art, London. Both academics have backgrounds in which animation theory and practice are intertwined and inform each other; both publish essays and books within the fields of animation and film studies, as well as being award-winning animation filmmakers.
AP3 seeks to extend the realm of inquiry into different forms of animation, ranging from fine art approaches and installations within art galleries, to motion graphics, VR, and Pixar blockbusters. Practice as research is foregrounded, and a range of writing styles is actively encouraged, as long as a level of academic rigour is maintained.
The Experimental Animation edition, published in September 2021, contains nine essays by leading international animation theorists, with strong representation from New Zealand, Australia, and South-East Asia, including AUT Digital Design colleagues Chen Chen and Hossein Najafi. The introductory essay focuses upon experimental animation and is entitled A journal of the plague year: Animation’s power to transcend time and space.
All nine essays all extend one’s thinking about the nature of experimental animation, in an era in which digital methods are combined with the analogue. Len Lye expert Emeritus Professor Roger Horrocks considers the importance of new technology within Lye’s creative output, alongside his focus upon gestural mark-making. Laura Yilmaz, a high-profile animator originally from the US, and now an academic at Victoria University, reflects upon a tricky commercial project. There is writing by four New Zealand artists (both gallery-based and commercial) reflecting upon their practice – Hye Rim Lee, Sorawit Songsataya, Jonny Kofoed, and Sean Kerr – and Dr Harris interviews Malcolm Turner, the Director of the Melbourne International Animation Festival.
This edition extends the area of focus beyond the traditionally dominant territories of Europe, USA, and the UK. It innovatively considers not only certain festival and gallery works as falling under the umbrella of experimental animation, but also contemporary commercial examples, such as advertising, title sequences, and the music video.