This doctoral research investigated the physical, metaphysical, and pataphysical dimensions of digitising the unconscious motion of psychophysiological play.

This work lays the shaky foundation for my post-doctoral research, which refutes everything that came before – and will come after. I misunderstood the logic of the founder of psychophysiology: Heraclitus, the dark riddler.

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Creator: Hellmut Monz
Year: 2017
Genre: Doctoral Research


Reanimating the archaic thinking of Heraclitus, Kostas Axelos thought that play animates the world. Yet, the interplay between the play of the world and animation remains underthought. Instead, the digital animator unthoughtfully presses play on the display to display play. While pressing play on the digital display greatly enfolds digital animation technology, it remains underthought in relation to the unpressable play of the world.

This project-based research addresses this tension through asking: How can a digital technologist think and make digital animation play? The research collects an animated etymology of digital animation from thoughtful erring: the play of psychophysiological to-and-fro movement. As a digital animation technologist, I make and think digital animation originating from the physical – enclosing the psychical – play of to-and-fro movement. Deriving the play of the world from physis allows contextualising digital displaying through physical, metaphysical and pataphysical notions of play.

The findings support that pressing play already steers the digital animation display. This forgets the enfolding unpressable play of the physical. Thinking and making digital animation play is either redundant or unthinkable. The discussion proposes the tension of digitism and playtime. Digitism is digital errance, which unthoughtfully errs in displaying play. Playtime thoughtfully errs in paying attention to the physical tensions at play: moving to and fro. The (un)final project, Unanimation, pays attention to this tension as total fragments collected from thoughtful erring. When played, it plays forwards as it plays backwards joining the true and the false display. To question displaying play that presses forward, the project does not play through pressing play.

The contribution dares to suggest play enfolding digital animation display. Yet, by pressing play to display, the digital animation technologist represses play. Based on collecting an animated etymology from thoughtful erring, the research asks digitists to play to err, to play to display.