NiTRO Creative Matters

Perspectives on creative arts in higher education

Kam – Animation

by Zeynep Akcay

A woman dances in the dark to transform her body into light and colour. Kam, meaning ‘Shaman’ in old Turkish, is a long-exposure pixilation / 2D animation film expressing the primal, potent energy of the female body. This animated film made in response to the repressive discourses about the female body investigates how two different techniques of animation (namely, long exposure photography of real movements and 2D drawings) can be combined to create a fierce and exuberant dance flow. Kam has screened at numerous international festivals, so far winning two awards (Best Experimental Film at International Women Filmmaker Festival – 2021 and Special Mention at Under the Radar Vienna 2022)  You can view a recording of audience responses from Wildsound Festival here.


Kam, meaning ‘Shaman’ in old Turkish, is an animated film expressing the primal, potent energy of the female body via long exposure pixilation/2D animation techniques. The film investigates how the improvisation of a dancer can be recorded via long exposure technique and translated into animated film language to create a visceral manifesto.

Contribution The film deconstructs & reconstructs movement using the optics field’s light recording principles. To record light, first photographers had to expose their subjects for a long period of time, creating traces of movement on the frame. This effect was often considered as undesirable. The film consciously uses this artifact to condense the motion of the dancer in individual pictures, which also allows a stream-of-consciousness approach while creating a new dance flow, which is later combined with 2D animations. The primitive drawings on top of long exposure photographs take form of interventions to the narrative, creating a new, more pronounced layer of expression enforcing the rebellious, transformative energy of the female body. With this film, the combination of long exposure pixilation & 2D animation has been explored for the first time to capture and translate a dance performance in animated language.

Significance Kam has been screened in 10 international festivals around the world, and has won 2 major awards: Best Experimental Film at International Women Filmmakers Festival in Izmir, Turkey – 2021 and Special Mention at Under the Radar Vienna in Austria, 2022. It has been also selected to be part of Australian Animation Showcase by ASIFA Australia; touring US and Europe for International Animation Day celebrations. Furthermore, it has been featured in special screenings and panel discussions around the world.


The film is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA (Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike), so it is open to be viewed and downloaded here for sharing alike, remixing and building upon the work in non-commercial settings by attribution. During COVID-19 travel restrictions, one of the festivals recorded audience feedback and shared with the directors. The video can be viewed here. Similarly, I have written an article that discusses the relationship between the aesthetic approach, the political stance and the production methodology of this film, and it was published in an open access journal.

This film, besides being selected and screened in festivals, hence fulfilling the ‘publishing in peer reviewed outlet’ condition for recognition in academia, has been made open to public access via Creative Commons CC BY-NC-SA (Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike) license. Similarly, the article that discusses the relationship between the aesthetic approach, the political stance and the production methodology of this film was published in an open access journal. Moreover, I had been interviewed by two colleagues who are authoring a book chapter about feminist animation.

I was lucky to receive some recorded audience responses during COVID-19 period and get feedback from panel discussions that had featured the film, which for me, were good indicators for the work’s impact. In accordance with the CC BY-NC-SA (Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike) license, I have made the movie file available for download, allowing others to remix, tweak and build upon the work non- commercially. If I had not disseminated the film through festivals (during which time I had to limit the access to it as festivals require their programs to be exclusive) I am not sure how and if the audience responses and the derivatives of the work would be accounted in the assessment of the research.

Dr Zeynep Akcay is an animation filmmaker & scholar focusing on experimental aesthetics and narrative strategies of animation in different environments. After performing as an animator and teaching animation in Montreal, Canada, and in Izmir, Turkey, she is currently leading the animating major at Griffith Film School, Brisbane, Australia. Akcay focuses on 2D and 3D character animation, experimental aesthetics and new technologies while engaging in themes pivoting around gender, environment, and displacements. 

More from this issue

Hasina – Novel

by Michelle Aung Thin Hasina / Crossing the Farak River is a reality-based, fictional account of the Rohingya clearance operations

Read More +

More from this issue

Edited by Smiljana Glisovic With this edition we are continuing the conversation around research reporting and assessment of creative practice research outputs. The first thing to say is that the focus on measurement, accounting, and evaluating is not the only conversation to be having, and that in order to get that part ‘right’ what we […]

by Mark Sholtez Twilight on the Trail is a collection of iconic cowboy songs from the golden era of American popular music.  This collaborative work from Jen Mize and Mark Sholtez takes a fresh look at the music of the great cowboy crooners (Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, Sons of the Pioneers). Jen Mize […]

by David Usher This exhibition titled Landscape: Notions of the Spook represents the body of work that makes up half of David Usher’s practice led Doctorate titled Notions of the Spook: Recollections and Nostalgia through personal artist experiences of the contemporary landscape. While this exhibition is unable to depict three years of thought and making, […]

by Melissa Howe The Still and Moving Street was an exhibition of work comprising ‘The Crossing’ and ‘Gestural Street Portraits,’ first presented together in 2020. ‘The Crossing’ features a series of unstaged photographic portraits taken of anonymous individuals using a pedestrian crossing in an inner city suburb in Sydney. Over a six-month period of time, […]

by Dr Ellie Coleman and Dr Linda Clark Becoming was an exhibition that was the culmination of practice-led research by Dr Linda Clark and Dr Ellie Coleman. Both artists developed sculpture and installation works for an initial exhibition titled Rise, which was held at the University of Southern Queensland Art Gallery in December 2022. The […]

by Agnieszka Golda and Jo Law with science collaborators Helen McGregor and Sepidar Sayyar Spinning World (世界を紡ぐ) is a multi-sensory project incorporating textiles, electronics and graphene. MAAS Research Fellows Agnieszka Golda and Jo Law investigated historical Japanese textiles from the Museum’s collection and have created a new artwork that explores the relationship between art, emerging […]

by Dr Ari Chand & Dr Andrew Howells – Exhibition Curators Exhibition contributors: Alan Male, Andrew Howells, Andrew Selby, Andy R Davies, Ari Chand, David Blaiklock, Elizabeth Delumba, Ellen Weinstein, Gill Sampson, Iliana Oakes, Jake Abrams, Jo Berry, Jo Mignone, Linda Knight, Lious Netter, Mario Minichiello, Mary E Begin, Melanie Reim, Richard Johnson, Robert Brinkerhoff, […]

by Dr Jan Brüggemeier, Dr Leanne Morrison and Dr Tom Bristow Salmon Tales examines multiple discourses about salmon farming in Tasmania. Through the lens of Mikhail Bakhtin’s literary theory of polyphony, the voices of multiple stakeholders including community members, corporations, and journalists tell their own version of a series of environmental events involving the Tasmanian […]

by Dr Aaron Burton and Madeline Goddard Mangrove forests around the world are under threat. These often misunderstood ecosystems provide many benefits to the community such as carbon storage, storm protection, and wildlife habitat. The film follows Darwin fisherman Hiroaki Nakamura through the mangroves as he attempts to catch his 1000th barramundi without bait or […]

by Patrick West and Simon Wilmot The past has its place in the future. Djargurtwoorroong elder, Wombeetch Puyuun, is teaching Scottish-born settler Isabella Dawson his aboriginal tongue so that her father, James Dawson, can write his book on the customs and languages of the first peoples of the volcanic plains of Victoria’s Western District. But how can language preserve the […]

by Tonya Meyrick ‘The Avant Garden is a multi-platform, roaming structure that will house, in various locations throughout Geelong and then across regional Victoria, cutting edge creative programming and exchange in a festival atmosphere’ Exhibition design, digital animations, website, logo, typography, virtual structures, and production designs of the Avant Garden + augmented reality (AR), VIEW […]

by Rose Michael The year of the Slippery When Wet Tour three girls leave their safe suburban world to spend a life-changing night in a forest on the outskirts of Melbourne, where they plan a half-serious seance to call forth bushranger Ned Kelly. A world away in time – Edward Kelly alchemist, necromancer and crystal […]

by Michelle Aung Thin Hasina / Crossing the Farak River is a reality-based, fictional account of the Rohingya clearance operations of 2017. It is a trade publication of around 45000 words written for a readership between 11 and 16. The work is extensively researched for factual accuracy. I also drew from postcolonial theory to situate […]

by Kate Hunter Earshot was a verbatim theatre performance which used overheard stories gathered from the general public in cafes, parks and trams. Billed as ‘part live performance, part undercover surveillance operation’, the work was developed over three years in Melbourne, Australia. It premiered at fortyfivedownstairs, a classic inner-city Melbourne independent theatre venue in December […]

by Dr Josie Vine This three-piece portfolio of text-based journalism (three columns) are the product of reflective-practice research exploring the question: What is the civic function of Hyperlocal journalism from the perspective of a Hyperlocal professional practitioner? The three pieces cover the monthly meetings of Maribyrnong, Brimbank and Hobsons Bay City Councils, and are published […]

by Dr Jude Lovell with Kathleen Kemarre Wallace RESEARCH STATEMENT The institution through which the research output was lodged did not ask for a research statement with regard to this work. Merely for a record that the work was exhibited in a public gallery and for the citation of the publication. ADDITIONAL MATERIAL FROM THE […]

by The Meco Network At a time when climate panic obscures clear thought, 100 Atmospheres is an invitation to think differently. Through speculative, poetic, and provocative texts, thirteen writers and artists have come together to reflect on human relationships with other species and the planet. The process of creating 100 Atmospheres was shared, with works (written, photographic and drawn) […]