Month: March 2020

Mastering Anxiety

I am in a stage where anxiety is starting to creep up on me. I still feel like the way forward is foggy, I am not sure what direction my story will take. Following this line of thought, I am considering reassessing my take on applying for ethics. I believe it would be valuable for me to conduct a survey of sorts of New Zealanders, asking for information surrounding their perception of Gypsy/Romany culture.

It has come to my attention that there is a faction in New Zealand who consider themselves activists and are seeking greater clarification surrounding Rom rights, especially in regards to those claiming this right when freedom camping.

I also would like to examine symbolism, and what kinds of thoughts come to mind when you ask your every day New Zealander what they associate with Gypsy/Romany culture. I believe that the information gathered from this data will assist me with the curation of images for my animation.

My own ‘gypsyiness’

I have a lot of different thoughts and ideas whirling around my head. I really want to create something poignant, and powerful, but I am at a point with my research where I’m not sure what direction to take, so I am just working to create content for every idea that fly through my brain.

I want to communicate how it feels for me to be Romany, and kiwi, and Gorjio. That I never felt quite Gypsy enough to fit in with my Romany family, and never quite Gora enough to fit in with the kids at the school I went too. And then slide this into how I feel now, trying to own my ethnicity, but still feeling like a fraud. How much discrimination can I claim at this point in my life? How much disadvantage has it put me at?

When I was a teenager at high school in New Zealand there were girls who made fun of me, called me a Gypsy Witch, even dramatically throwing themselves into lockers to ‘get-away’ from me and my supposed curses.

But now, at 40, I can’t say my Gypsyiness has disadvantaged me because I really don’t have much left. If I had much, to begin with. My Dad moved us away from his family, and the stigma that went hand in hand with being a traveller. But with that move and gain of the white privilege, my skin gives me, I’ve lost the chance to learn the Romany language, and be part of the travelling community, in a way that popping in once a week on a Sunday never afforded us.

I’m same/same/different on both sides of the fence. And the fence does exist, as surely as the gatekeepers stand at the border and keep a mental tally to who has the right to claim themselves Gypsy, Traveller, Romany.

Romany Representation

2nd March 2020

I’m working through some ideas that are trapped in my head. Here’s one on Romany representation. I’m off to bed, but next up: kiwi head? ??‍♀️ ?

I had an idea while at the gym, that I could work on the 3D head I started in 2017, and use it to act out a narrative surrounding representation. Maybe trying on different versions of representations of identity. Such as, what does it mean to be a kiwi, what does it mean to be Romany, what kinds of things do you think of when you hear certain words in relation to ethnicity.

Masters Research – On other work

Week 2
Monday 2nd March 2020

Today I watched several animations on the platform Kanopy. these were the 2018 animated documentary Rezo, Four Flims by Robert Ascher (1986) and Dear Janice, an infinite animation by Adam Beckett (1974).


Director: Levan Gabriadze
Writers: Revaz Gabriadze (story), Revaz Gabriadze

This is an autobiographical animated documentary narrated, and illustrated by Rezo Gabriadze, a Georgian artist, writer, and creator or a Marionette theatre.

this documentary, which is subtitled deals with idealisation surrounding humanity, and kindness during the hard times after world war 2.

It is beautifully illustrated with a sketchy ink, and watercolour style that acts out the story told by the narrator. It has fantastic use of sound, which fills in a lot of the basic animation style. Although animated with a simple 2d side scroller style it conveys well and draws the viewer into the story.

The editing flows well between the animated narration and the live-action of the narrator.

Four Films by Robert Asher
Robert Ascher
colour, 21 min, 1986

Collection of animations by Robert Ascher, these animations use the technique of drawing and painting directly onto the 35 mm film. This put me in the mind of Len Lye, which I think (I’ll have to check) is around the same time frame that he was creating this style of animation.

Dear Janice
The Infinite Animator, Adam Beckett 1974

I found Adam’s work while surfing Kanopy. He was an animator that was said to be full of promise when he was tragically died young. I find myself facinated with his animations loops, and the creative use of using a sketchy feel, with organic repeating shapes. His peice Dear Janice put me in mind of the notes my friends and I would pass during class, and the feeling of his work made me jot down words like childlike, lust, wonder, hopeful, expermental, lots of boobs, teenage boyee (in relation to the hearts sliding into boobs)

It had a rather chaotic kalidosope effect which I found a lot more intresting that I orginally thought when I first hit play.

Buzz words and animated practice

Week 1

This week marked my first supervision meeting with Greg, and the completion of my first draft of my ethics application. During this meeting we discussed the different options going forward with my ethics consideration and that before my next meeting I will have the first draft of my narrative that will drive my animated documentary forward.

Over the past few weeks, I have spent some time thinking about just what my project will look like. While my main intent is to create a piece that explores the identity of New Zealand Romany, my Master’s focus is a personal journal, and my final animated documentary will reflect this.

An issue that I keep running into is maintaining a narrow path for my research to follow. I naturally want to fly down roads that open the scope up to a PhD level amount of work, so keeping this in mind, I am focusing on 3 to 4 in-depth interview with willing participants of the Romany community.

To reach these participants I will distribute an online survey via survey monkey, in which I will give them the information regarding what my project is about, ask about their connection to being Romany, and if they would be willing to have a discussion with me.

I do not intend to include what they say in my final work, but rather how what I learned has shaped my own thinking.

During the break, I worked on some different animation techniques. I still haven’t come up with the look and feel of my animation, so currently I am still practising. I do really enjoy Chuck Jones’ The Dot and the Line, and how the animation flows easily from one scene to the next. I’ve placed it below so those reading this can see what I mean.

My own hand-drawn animation isn’t anywhere near as good as Chuck’s, so I will be considering how I can create something like this with my own limited skill.

Below are some of the animations I have been practising with.

Some other ideas I have been playing with is the concept of somehow incorporating traditional Romany art styles, like the painted wagons, or the rag carpets that my own Granny taught me to make. Romany heritage is a hodgepodge of cultures, much like how offcuts from rags and be bought together to create something beautiful.

I need to pick one theme to weave though my narrative, a metaphor of sorts, I’m not quite sure what this will be yet, but this overarching story is starting to take shape in the peripheral.

Below are some ‘buzz’ words that strike a chord with me, are threads I want to keep my mind as I pull my story together.

“Tactile, Rug, patchwork, DNA, Sum of all our parts”