Lauren Sloan

2022 Undergraduate Research Fund Awardee
Collaborative Arts Class of 2023

Lauren Sloan

Lauren Sloan is an animator, screenwriter, and actress who has been able to develop technique in all three disciplines within the Collaborative Arts Major. Her style is heavily influenced by her painting background.


Pallete Knife

Animation has the power to tell urgent but deeply sensitive stories from a distance that may allow space for those who are emotionally close to the subject. There is work to be done in adjusting our visual repertoire around sexual assault. All too often the media shows the traumatic event as one plot point. What about afterwards? What about all the moments it takes to recover, to feel confident again, to feel happy despite everything? I believe there are just as compelling if not more compelling stories within a process of healing.

A new visual literacy in healing, I think requires multiple approaches. There are three important elements to this research. The first is to research how narrative animation can be used to discuss urgent stories centered around healing. The narrative follows one 20 something year old who tries to decipher signs they believe lead to their soulmate. The narrative will explore the ongoing process of generating healthy relations after trauma has skewed what is perceived as unsafe and safe.

Though her story is not a monolith experience for all survivors, that is why one of the most important aspects of this project will be done through animated interviews. Using animation to tell urgent stories has been a quest of mine since beginning at my first college before transferring to NYU. We explored how experimental animation has been used to tell urgent but sensitive stories in a way that is careful about not re-traumatizing those who are telling the stories. The idea for this animation stems from a project I developed in the open arts class Multidisciplinary Arts Practice in a Community Group Setting with Mary Bitel. The project would have been an animation workshop in tandem with a support group for college aged survivors of sexual assault. It would be a form of community art therapy that would be co-facilitated with a psychologist. I am unfortunately not currently in the position to start this workshop, so this film is the beginning research of using animation and storytelling to tell stories healing. This is where the second major part of the story comes in. The somewhat silent narrative animation would be interjected with interviews from survivors discussing their healing process and dating lives since this experience. Then their interviews would be animated over with more abstract characters so they could remain anonymous if they wish. Animating the interviews is about more than anonymity. The goal would be to work with every interviewee to develop their own character design. Who are they after the plot point? What did it take to get there?

The final aspect to this research is to use stop-motion with oil paint. The third element to this research is developing a deeper technique in oil paint stop motion. This is an animated short that bridges oil paint stop-motion and 2D animation. I think the abstract qualities of oil paint stop motion can convey the complex feelings of a relationship, of faint memories, of feelings that we can not quite pin down. The protagonist’s world will shift from digital animation to the thick cloudy mess of oil paint as she begins to decipher the “signs” being sent to her. Animation is a powerful tool for both fiction and nonfiction. It can be used to look in from a different window. It would be the perfect modality to start shifting our visual library when it comes to stories of trauma and more importantly of healing.