Lecturer in 3D Animation and Games
Alex Charnley is a member of the Science Fiction Research Cluster.
Alex is a Lecturer in 3D Animation and Games at Middlesex University and practices as an illustrator and CGI filmmaker for various activist publications and media collectives, including The Occupied Times of London and Stir to Action.
Areas of broad interest include: CG animation aesthetics; documentary and realism; New Objectivity; radical theatre; Marxism; communication theory; committed art and anti-art; cultural markets; autonomous production; participatory art; pedagogics.
My primary research interest is in critical aesthetics and oppositional practices in CGI cinema. Central to this concern is to interrogate the relationship between the dominant aesthetic concerns of the CGI industry and the way social relations are organised in education and production. Principle to this debate is to track "emerging" or "oppositional" CGI practices as a historical counterpoint to hegemonic CGI formations. Therefore, the premise of a radical CGI animation cinema is posited as a dual concern. First, as an attempt to re-insert an autonomous aesthetic into a popular form. Second, as an opposition to the social organisation of cultural markets.
The interdisciplinary constellations of critical theory and practice in the Weimar republic and inter-war Europe are used as a historical basis for radical departures in the field of CGI animation production. This includes a focus on Brecht; Piscator; the development of the epic or modern popular documentary theatre; the art of New Objectivity; Grosz; Dix; Schaud; Beckmann; Adorno; Horkheimer; Marcuse; Benjamin; and Gramsci. These latter thinkers and practitioners - widely associated with modernism and the avante-garde - are drawn into dialogue with more recent debates on politics and art. In turn, critical concepts such as hegemony, ideology, work, alienation, and aesthetics are used as levers to ruminate possibilities for a post-industrial treatment of CGI as a radical popular form.