TOCA ME 2019 Pt. 2 - Anna Ginsburg

Hellmays - Anna Ginsburg - e.m.papers

As with all of the other designer speakers at TOCA ME, I had no idea who Anna Ginsburg was. The designer pal I went with told me she did something around talking vaginas. 'Yeah, yeah, yeah, talking vaginas', I thought, probably some real gimmicky stuff.


Anna Ginsburg is a young, supremely talented animator. Her big break came when she was commissioned by Channel 4 INT in the UK to create an animated short about sexuality. Of course the deadline was impossible and she was offered almost no money. 

She was young, relatively inexperienced, but resourceful and intrepid! She contacted the illustrators she most admired, asked them if they could contribute to the short, explained how small the budget was but offered each an even cut. To her delight and surprise many agreed and the dropbox folders she set up for each illustrator started filling up with amazing animations. The result was 'Private Parts': 

She explained that her favorite form was the animated documentary. The recorded human face and use of talking heads in documentaries automatically activates our unconscious biases and preconceived ideas. Eliminating them all together and using animation instead allows for more openness to the theme and ideas of the piece from the viewer. This stuck with me.

Beauty and the female form became a subject focus after witnessing her younger sister battle Anorexia. Her youngest sister, on the other hand, wanted butt implants. She started following her Instagram feed. She noted (with horror) how the spectrum of beauty standards went from anorexic (Kate Moss) to a caricature of the female form (Kim Kardashian) in a little over a decade.

She talked about 'dismemberment', a technique used in advertising where women's body parts are separated from their faces, which fuels the objectification. It was dismaying i to see women doing this voluntarily(!) on Instagram. In a stroke of genius she concluded this part of her talk with this animated gif, and then introduced her animated short 'What is Beauty' a meditation on the representation of female form from the Venus of Willendorf on up to Nicki Minaj:

She told all the aspiring illustrators in the audience that they should work with their musician friends. For her it had been a great opportunity to be really creative with just enough constraints. I found this some of her most fun, exuberant work and aspects of it reminded me of the pioneering videos that Tibor Kalman did in the 80s with The Talking Heads.


You can see her showcase here. Click on the individual items to see more, then click again to see the videos.

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