How many ways can you skin a dead cat?


“How many ways can an alien analyse an animated robot?” (HMWCAAAAR)

‘Critical Histories of Design’ PGD LCC – 05.02.2014

Lecture/seminar/workshop by Dr. Mark Ingham






JONAH from Factory Fifteen on Vimeo.



Mbwana and his best friend Juma are two young men with big dreams. These dreams become reality when they photograph a gigantic fish leaping out of the sea and their small town blossoms into a tourist hot-spot as a result. But for Mbwana, the reality isn’t what he dreamed – and when he meets the fish again, both of them forgotten, ruined and old, he decides only one of them can survive. Jonah is a big fish story about the old and the new, and the links and the distances between them. A visual feast, shot though with humour and warmth, it tells an old story in a completely new way.

A Stray Bear Production in association with Jellyfish Pictures

From the imagination of Factory Fifteen

Directed by Kibwe Tavares
Written by Jack Thorne
Produced by Ivana MacKinnon

Daniel Kaluuya
Malachi Kirby
and Louis Mahoney

Town VFX: Factory Fifteen
Fish VFX: Jellyfish Pictures

Executive Producers – Katherine Butler, Ollie Madden, Chris Collins, Phil Dobree, Eva Yates
Co-Producer Fiz Oliver
Line Producer – Sarah Jane Wheale
Editor – Adam Biskupski
Cinematographer – Chloe Thomson
Production Designer: Paul Nicholls and Jonathan Gales
Fish Concept Art – Warren Holder
Composer – Mark Sayfritz
Sound Design – Jens Petersen
Sound Recordist – Will Whale
Costume Designer– Celia Lusted
Casting Directors – Saheen Baig & Aisha Walters


Introduction to  D.A.S. (Describe Analyse Situate)



Free write about what you saw for 5 minutes



Leading M.I.T. social scientist and consultant, Donald Schön in his book:

The Reflective Practitioner: How Professionals Think in Action (1991)

distinguishes between reflection-on-action and reflection-in-action in the following way:



Reflection-in-action is concerned with practicing critically.

So, a design student working with a client on a project is making decisions about the suitability of particular design, which presentation to do next and judging the success of each response at the same time as they are conducting the activity.


Reflection-on-action on the other hand, occurs after the activity has taken place when you are thinking about what you (and others) did, judging how successful you were and whether any changes to what you did could have resulted in different outcomes.

This is usually the type of reflection which you are asked to write about as part of your studies.


1 Robots_of_Brixton_filmstill4-By_Kibwe_Tavares__111207100754


2. Rotbots of Brixton_53643066_53643065


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After discussing the film with the people around you for 5 minutes, think about how many different contexts you could place this film so you could analyse it more specifically?

Write down a list of these contexts and then choose a member of your group to speak for you.


Research methods: Action Research (AR) and Exploratory Practice (EP) are examples of research methods which embed reflection in the research process and are particularly well-suited to practitioner research – where you examine your own professional practice.


Methods/Lens/View points/contexts

Marxism (screen theory, apparatus theory)

Psychoanalysis (Mary Ann Doane, Philip Rosen and Laura Mulvey)

Feminism (Marjorie Rosen’s Popcorn Venus: Women, Movies, and the American Dream (1973) and Molly Haskell’s From Reverence to Rape: The  Treatment of Women in Movies (1974))

Gender studies

Semiotics (structuralist film theory)

Auteur theory (André Bazin)







Discourse analysis



Iconic analysis

Gender studies

Literary theory


Philosophical (Philosophy of language film analysis)

Apparatus theory

Formalist film theory

Genre studies


French philosopher Henri Bergson’s Matter and Memory (1896) has been cited as anticipating the development of film theory during the birth of cinema. Bergson commented on the need for new ways of thinking about movement, and coined the terms “the movement-image” and “the time-image”.

However, in his 1906 essay L’illusion cinématographique (in L’évolution créatrice), he rejects film as an exemplification of what he had in mind.

Nonetheless, decades later, in Cinéma I and Cinema II (1983–1985), the philosopher Gilles Deleuze took Matter and Memory as the basis of his philosophy of film and revisited Bergson’s concepts, combining them with the semiotics of Charles Sanders Peirce.



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