Animation. Etymology: From the Latin animātiō, “the act of bringing to life”

Animation offers us vivid opportunities to see situations and information in new and exciting ways. It can be used to visualise alternate worlds, articulate experiences that cannot be shown in live action and convey ideas in an easily accessible way that could otherwise prove difficult to engage audiences with.

At the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh we have recently used animation to talk about ash dieback – you can find out more and see the new animation by clicking here.

We are also showing short animations made by students at Nanyang Technogical University (NTU), Singapore as part of the Jalan Jati (Teak Road) exhibition. These films were created from the recorded, spoken word of botanist Shawn Lum. Students then based stop-motion animations on these recordings to illustrate the stories and issues. They were supervised the artist Lucy Davis (lecturer at NTU) who has created the short film Jalan Jati, which has been doing the rounds of international film festivals and is included in a programme of films on environmental issues showing at the Barbican next month.

I think these shorts are very successful in engaging the viewer in the subject with simple visuals. One of them is shared below, but you can see all four animations at the Botanics YouTube Channel.

We’d love to know what you think, so please do add your comments and feel free to share!

Film stills from Jalan Jati, animation by Lucy Davis
Animation film stills from Jalan Jati, by Lucy Davis