Online Exhibition

Aboveground Animation: 3D-Form

“3D-Form” is a presentation of four experimental animations selected from the archive Aboveground Animation for the New Museum’s monthly series First Look: New Art Online.

Cover Image:

Jacolby Satterwhite, Country Ball 1989–2012, 2012 (still). Video, color, sound, 12:38 min. Courtesy the artist and Monya Rowe Gallery, New York

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Featured artists include Barry Doupé, Kathleen Daniel, Ryan Whittier Hale, and Jacolby Satterwhite. Beyond Pixar, Adult Swim, or the default avatars of video games, these works explore possibilities for 3-D human forms. Their casts of improbable people are hatched out of personal history or emotion—through a longing for intimacy or an uncertainty for the future. Experimental and short-form, all the works were made to be viewed across various screening contexts, from the cinema to the gallery to the browser, and yet their structure reflects a sophistication with a range of digital media and programs, from Maya to 3D Studio Max.

Founded by the artist Casey Jane Ellison, Aboveground Animation is a video collection, an artist community, and a roving exhibition platform all in one. Since 2008, Ellison has collected animations and shared them at venues, most regularly at Ramiken Crucible gallery in New York, inspired, in part, by a desire to promote art with a shared aesthetic and also to make sense of her own emerging body of work.

The works in “3D-Form” are distinguished by their integration of diverse forms, such as drawing, dance, and video, with 3-D animation. From Satterwhite’s glowing wombs and voguing dancers, Daniel’s erotic avatars that writhe, couple, and break apart, Hale’s cluster of identical artificial beings that recall sci-fi fantasies, and Doupé’s flat characters that operate like open text fields—the works reveal fresh terrain for debates around the post-human body. While each work possesses a distinct formal vocabulary, all are equally brazen. They work through our highly sexualized and objectified pop culture to produce new forms of humanity that are both strange and familiar.

Featured Animations

Kathleen Daniel, Personal, 2012. Video, color, sound, 3:01 min
Daniel’s characters can seem monstrous, as if they have mutated out of our highly eroticized and controlled body culture. Yet on closer examination, they appear startlingly human—and more honest than we expect our virtual, projected selves to be. Personal is a nonlinear narrative set to an original score, which leads the viewer through surreal landscapes, exurban parking lots, roadside bars, and intimate scenes in bedrooms. Incredibly intricate and layered, Daniel describes it simply as being about “patience when it comes to flakes.”

Barry Doupé, The Colors that Combine to Make White are Important, 2012. Video, color, sound, 8:29 min (excerpt from 119 min piece)
The title of Doupé‘s latest work reflects the poetic slippages in translation often found in manga animation (for example, “Sleeping Flower” or “Missing Road”). A drama that centers around a character in crisis, unable to prioritize or evaluate her surrounding landscape, the broken translation of the title carries over to the mental state of the protagonist. Doupé made the work by creating and animating characters through 3D Studio Max and then recording their movements inside the program through built-in video.

Ryan Whittier Hale, Cluster, 2012. Video, color, sound, 00:27 min
Hale’s work recalls fantasy and science-fiction aesthetics that question the anthropology and artifice of these projected worlds. His immersive environments feature genderless, synthetic life-forms engaged in estranged dialogue or, as in Cluster, locked together like lifeless machines. Built with Maya, Poser, and After Effects, the score of Cluster is a modified version of Enya’s song “One by One” (2000).

Jacolby Satterwhite, Reifying Desire 3, 2012. Video, color, silent, 16:58 min
The latest installment in a six-part series, Reifying Desire 3 is a surrealist creation myth that stems from his ongoing collaboration with his mother. Satterwhite writes: “‘Reifying Desire 1–6’ will use 230 3-D modeled versions of my mother’s drawings, my body, and animated figures. The intersection of the disparate disciplines including dance performance, drawing, and digital media acts as an exquisite corpse strategy for guiding the storyline. Ordinary utilitarian objects become queered and repurposed in pursuit of defining a new utopian and nonpolitical space for me to perform in. The result is an overlap of visual trajectories between my mother and I—her private domestic documentations/inventions and my public reactions to pop culture, art history, and political histories.”

About the Artists

Casey Jane Ellison (b.1988 Los Angeles) uses video, stop-motion, and 3-D animation. She has exhibited video and animation at Ramiken Crucible, the Museum of Art and Design, and MoMA P.S.1 in New York, and on Since founding Aboveground Animation in 2008, she has screened selections around the United States, begun accepting commissions from artists internationally, and has been featured on NYC Cable Access through ESP TV.

Kathleen Daniel (b. United States) is a visual artist, musician, and founder of Duh Real productions. She works online under the name “Silicious.” Of her career, Daniel writes, “I am spiritual and believe in the Supreme Being, seeing as HE/SHE has blessed me with a load of talent: fashion designer, dancer, singer, artist, lyricist, and now creating animation and music.”

Barry Doupé (b. 1982 Victoria, BC) graduated from Emily Carr University in 2004 with a Bachelor of Media Arts, majoring in animation. His work has been screened throughout Canada and internationally, including the Ann Arbor Film Festival, International Film Festival Rotterdam, Anthology Film Archives, Musée d’art contemporain de Lyon, Pleasure Dome, MOCCA, Whitechapel Gallery, and the Tate Modern.

Ryan Whittier Hale (b. 1985 San Francisco, CA) is visual artist who manipulates photography and video through digital collage and 3-D animation. He received his BFA from Parsons in 2010 in Design and Technology. He has had a solo show at NP Contemporary / Envoy Enterprises in New York and exhibited in the US and abroad, including shows at La Gaîté Lyrique in Paris and the Chelsea Art Museum in New York. Later this year, he will be a featured artist in a group show at Eyebeam.

Jacolby Satterwhite (b. 1986 Columbia, SC) works with dance, performance, drawing, printmaking, and 3-D modeling often in collaboration with this mother, an artist who battles with schizophrenia. In 2012, his work was shown at the Studio Museum, DC Moore Gallery, the Calder Foundation, and Socrates Sculpture Park in New York, as well as the Contemporary Art Museum in Houston. In 2013, he will present solo exhibitions at Monya Rowe Gallery and Hudson D. Walker Gallery in Provincetown.

About First Look: New Art Online

To celebrate the Museum’s 35th Anniversary, the award-winning New Museum website ( has been reconceived as a unique destination with major new programs designed to strengthen and serve our digital audience. The re-envisioned website launches several key online initiatives such as the First Look series that will showcase a new digital artwork each month. The selected works will represent the breadth of art online—from interactive documentary, to participatory applications, to moving-image-based works, all exploring the formal, social, and aesthetic possibilities of the web. Works will vary from pre-existing projects, which have had little exposure, to new commissions. The New Museum will invite artists who take the internet as their primary medium as well as artists established in other fields who have a project they would like to execute online. First Look is curated by Lauren Cornell, Curator of the 2015 “The Generational” Triennial, Museum as Hub, and Digital Projects. This new series reflects a strengthening of the New Museum’s ongoing commitment to the digital realm as a space for art making and its relationship with Rhizome, a leading online platform and longtime affiliate organization in residence at the Museum.


First Look is made possible, in part, by

Additional support provided by the Toby Devan Lewis Emerging Artists Exhibitions Fund.

The redesign of the website and its four signature initiatives have been supported by extraordinary funding through grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Booth Ferris Foundation, Henry Luce Foundation, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

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