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Experimental Animation

Lewis Heriz

Lewis Heriz is a cross-disciplinary artist from Suffolk, UK.

Animation is the form that best combines his passions. He comes to his practice from a background first in music and theatre, then grassroots music promotion. From the latter grew a decade-or-so-long stint in graphic art and illustration, with a heavy weighting on record cover and poster design for labels such as Soundway, Sofrito, Strut, and Now-Again/Stones Throw. He has over 200 record sleeve designs distributed worldwide. The ‘manufactured synaesthesia’ approach he applied to music visuals led him to see animation - with its fusion of sound and image through time - as a natural progression, and has spent the MA at the RCA investigating as expanded an approach to the form as possible under the restricted circumstances.

Lewis holds a 1st Class BA (Hons) in English Studies at the University of Nottingham.

Recent features and exhibitions:

Centre Pompidou <<Mon Oeil>>, (Improv 1) [2020]

Vimeo Staff Pick, (Improv 1) [2019]

Hot Sun, Late Sun: Modernism UntamedFondation Vincent Van Gogh, Arles [2018]





Degree Details

School of Communication

Experimental Animation

With my practice I am moving back to the physical; the transcription of analogue technology and technique rather than the transcoding of digital, with one eye on the latest innovations.

I am interested in aesthetics as social artefacts, part-dictated by technology. What is the ontological effect of how something looks, in the collective consciousness? Technological progress and economic growth fetishises the new, while condemning 'obsolete' tech to a fetishised nostalgia - yet the latter is simultaneously a powerful force that often acts as a binder for social identity. This tension interests me. With radical change occurring at an increasing rate due to exponential technological 'progress', I feel an unwanted nostalgia for the present: all this I see may be gone tomorrow.

I do not reject digital technology as a tool for creativity. However at present I feel compelled to concentrate on the material. Photochemical film sits for me in the lineage of printmaking as much as animation, and plant-based developing provides a means for quick, economical, ecological film production. To hold materiality as being central to one’s day in the hyperdigital era is to appreciate the centrality of embodied cognition in being human; to recognise the temporal nature of neural structures whose organising principle is grounded in the relationship between the Here and the Now.

Currently I am bringing together these concerns with my love of stop motion, 2-dimensional abstraction, and character.

You wouldn’t need to talk... (but) we could still do it for sentimental reasons.” - Elon Musk on Neuralink

With online communication commanding much of our psychological energy, it seems inevitable that human consciousness only moves further towards the digital network and away from an embodied cognition bound to the physical environment. Technological developments are fostering a transhuman future through network effects that force upon us a reliance on digital devices for communication and expression in the present.

Therefore We Are - the working title of my final project - is an investigation into and exploration of the shift towards fusing consciousness with digital networks, driven by a tech positivist and (I believe) a mistaken brain-in-a-vat thinking. The degree to which it is an essay film or experimental narrative is being decided through a sedimentary loop of ongoing experimentation, layering, and revision.

This project is also a response to the psychological and physical effect of relying on digital connection throughout lockdown, the sensory deprivation of (screen-based) digital interfaces combined with the serotonin-greedy media associated with them.

I am encouraging people to send spoken recordings of the thoughts that idly come into their head - of any kind - to be woven into an audio representation of what it might be like to tune into people's stream of consciousness. These can be entirely anonymous or credited, it's up to you. Please send recordings here - thank you

ConsciousnessHumanitySurveillance And PrivacyTranshumanism
Stop Motion Light Tests

Stop Motion Light Tests — An ever-shifting digital shadow reflects a fractured identity under digital surveillance. Experimenting with motion control, weaving loops with light, superimposition

Scanning Thoughts

Scanning Thoughts — Visualising consciousness through metaphors of brain activity. The 'problem' of spatio-temporal resolution.

Compositing Test — Handmade film combined with stop motion

Subjective Viewpoint

Subjective Viewpoint — Experimenting with focal point and peripheral vision


Polystyrene, wire, ping pong balls, card, clay, 16mm film
Test Edit Preview — Snippet of ongoing iterative editing

This is an experiment in a cyclical filmmaking process, rather than the more linear pipeline normally applied to animation. I want the film to reflect to a degree the anti-essentialist structure of the brain - and nature of neuroplasticity - so I'm taking a collage approach and allowing for free association to guide how I build it. Here is a section of my ongoing test edit as part of the pre-production stage. A new element of my practice is to regularly lay down each new experiment into this 'sandbox' - maybe replacing, maybe to be replaced - to see how they develop the overall feeling. This then becomes a guide, a template, for the production phase.

This snippet - a snapshot of my experimentation rather than any indication of the final content of the film - includes sound experiments, a scratch voiceover, playing with interaction/contradiction between external and internal voice (captions read in the mind of the viewer), with chance moments in compositing breeding new ideas for further work.



In Collaboration with:


Sketchbook selection — Some examples of concepting and shot planning

Setup — Proof of concept shoot experimenting with motion control

Rapid sculpting — Improvised construction to aid early lighting tests, concept & character development

Home developing — Coffee-based film developing in the kitchen, scanning with home-constructed manual 'telecine'/rostrum setup

Leverhulme Trade Charities Trust

Leverhulme Trade Charities Trust website

29 January 2021
10:00 (GMT + 0)

Jonathan Hodgson: A talk on Short Animation Production & Funding

Work in progress project discussion with students
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