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Research Philosophy

Javad is an independent animator, new media artist and scholar with a multidisciplinary background in engineering, animation and experimental digital media art. He is currently a PhD student at the School of Art, Design and Media, Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore. Taking a research approach that includes both theoretical investigation and studio-based practice, his PhD thesis theorized the temporal behaviors of Arabic character-forms in time-based media and explored the effects of such behaviors on legibility and readability of dynamic texts. Javad’s animations and artworks have been screened and exhibited internationally. He is the founder and director of Fanoos Studio, an art initiative that has been active in animation and digital media art production since 2010. He was also the co-curator of Bayu: An Exhibition of Contemporary Islamic Art, which was praised by the renowned scholar Nada Shabout.

Research Interests

Animation Theory:
Animated documentary, Animated Poetry, Calligraphic Animation, Visual Music, Fine Art Animation

New Media and Experimental Media Art:
Time-based Media Art, Audiovisual Art, Immersive Media, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality, Interactive and Digital Arts, Stereography, Projection Mapping

Cross-disciplinary Research:
Scientific Imaging and Visualization, Information & Data Visualization, Learning with Animation

Research Methodologies in Art and Design:
Practice-based and Practice-led Research, Artistic Research, Qualitative Research Methods

Jul 2016

Conference Presentation

Fluid Calligraphy:
The Multifaceted Evolution of Islamic Calligraphy in Time-based Media

A paper presented at "ILM: Science, Religion, and Art in Islam", University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia, 21-23 July 2016.

Calligraphy is known to be one of the prominent artforms in the visual culture of the Islamic world. in the second half of the twentieth century, it played a significant role in the development of a whole new artistic movement, usually referred to as the 'Calligraphic School of Art'. This new art movement or trend employed Islamic calligraphy as its raw material for artistic exploration. Trying to establish a dialogue between traditional Islamic calligraphy and modern aesthetic, contemporary artists who belong to the trend, have experimented with calligraphy in different styles and diverse range of media. Meanwhile, the ubiquity of screen technology and animation techniques in recent years has led to an increasing interest in using time-based media to create calligraphic art. Time-based media, in turn, offer myriad opportunities for exploring the proto-animated qualities of Islamic calligraphy. One of such artistic opportunities is the possibility to transform the function of calligraphy and to unfold its meaning over time. Being part of a practice-based PhD research, this paper studies a number of artworks, including some by the author, to demonstrate how certain aspects of Islamic calligraphy and its different resources of meaning-making may transform over time. The result of the study shows that ...

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Jun 2016

Conference Presentation

The Way of the Word:
Re-animating Islamic Calligraphy Through Time-based Art

A paper presented at "The Cosmos of Animation: the 28th Annual Conference of the Society for Animation Studies (SAS)", Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, 26-30 June 2016.

Experimental filmmakers are interested in exploring unconventional forms of expression and endeavor to expand the existing boundaries of filmic language. To achieve this, usually they do not start from scratch, rather draw on some sort of inspiration that helps them to go beyond the orthodoxies of mainstream filmmaking. In fact, the history of experimental filmmaking (and animation) reveals that "filmmakers needed some sort of tradition to draw upon in order to make compositional decisions based upon aesthetic values" (Deming, 2012, p. 370). At times such a tradition came from the visual synesthesia invoked by music. Other times, artists were inspired by the unconsciousness of the dream state, which gave birth to surrealism. Yet again, at other times, filmmakers found inspiration in other forms of art such as poetry. For many filmmakers, poetry with its diverse qualities ― such as openness to interpretation, deviation from linear narrative, musicality, etc. ― offered a constellation of opportunities and became a catalyzing force that inspired them to explore at the forefront of avant-garde filmmaking. ...

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Oct 2015

Curatorial Work

Bayu:
An Exhibition of Contemporary Islamic Art

Cocurated by M. Javad Khajavi & Noor Iskandar Othman

An exhibition of contemporary artwork featuring artists from the NTU School of Art, Design and Media, whose multidisciplinary practices draw inspiration from the art and culture of the Islamic world. In recent years, representations of Islamic art have extended to include modes of enquiry into the politics and poetics of identity in Islamic aesthetic, cultural and historical traditions. Emerging generations of artists whose practices are embedded in, or respond to this context, seek ways of discovering new dimensions in art-making, and that of self-actualization. Bayu, which means ‘wind’ in Malay, engages with the metaphor of this undulating force of nature, both gentle and powerful. The wind is both steadfast and surrendering, sometimes as a whisper of suggestion, and other times in a hurricane of gestures. The exhibition is an attempt to weave artistic journeys through the discourse and established conventions in Islamic art and design. While some of them may be intimate and personal expressions, they reveal critical nuances that expand into larger schemes of inquiry, and investigation, as artists seek to translate their attitudes and agencies through art. Bayu shows how artists deal with the complexities and dilemmas of cultural-historical identity, as they negotiate between subjectivity as well as universality. Rather than to resolve them, the exhibition offers a diverse range of the artists’ positions, presenting open-ended dialogues that broaden our understanding of their worlds.

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Oct 2015

Conference Presentation

Music in Silence:
Toward an Understanding of Musical Analogy in Islamic Calligraphy

A paper presented at "The International Forum on Contemporary Islamic Art, Design and Architecture (CIADA 2015)", Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, 8 October 2015.

Synesthetic analogies are commonly used in describing Islamic calligraphy. writers and calligraphers usually emphasize that the appreciation of Islamic calligraphy is not only through the eyes, but through hearing, smell, touch and even by heart or soul. Among these, musical analogies are the most common. Comparisons between different aspects of Islamic calligraphy and that of music can be found in the writings and sayings of Muslim philosophers, calligraphers and poets from different centuries. Similarly, the musical analogy is frequently used by contemporary writers and scholars, referring to various qualities of the art form including its abstract nature, inner rhythm, or its mystical and suprasensory dimensions. Meanwhile, the musical analogy proved to be influential on calligraphers and artists. Phrases such as “Music for the eyes”, “Harmony of letters”, “Singing words”, etc. recurrently decorate the title of calligraphic exhibitions or individual works of calligraphy and neo-calligraphy. Inspired by such an analogy, some artists (experimenting in different media, such as neo-calligraphy, music, interactive art, etc.) explored associations between Islamic calligraphy and music and created what might be described as “visual music”. This paper traces the influence of musical analogies of Islamic calligraphy on the works of contemporary artists.

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May 2013

Term Paper

An Inner Persistence:
Mystery and Poetry in Collage Animations of Lawrence Jordan

A paper submitted to professor Giannalberto Bendazzi for the course "Philosophical Issues in Animation"

Experimental filmmakers are interested in exploring unconventional forms of expression and endeavor to expand the existing boundaries of filmic language. To achieve this, usually they do not start from scratch, rather draw on some sort of inspiration that helps them to go beyond the orthodoxies of mainstream filmmaking. In fact, the history of experimental filmmaking (and animation) reveals that "filmmakers needed some sort of tradition to draw upon in order to make compositional decisions based upon aesthetic values" (Deming, 2012, p. 370). At times such a tradition came from the visual synesthesia invoked by music. Other times, artists were inspired by the unconsciousness of the dream state, which gave birth to surrealism. Yet again, at other times, filmmakers found inspiration in other forms of art such as poetry. For many filmmakers, poetry with its diverse qualities ― such as openness to interpretation, deviation from linear narrative, musicality, etc. ― offered a constellation of opportunities and became a catalyzing force that inspired them to explore at the forefront of avant-garde filmmaking. ...

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Nov 2012

Term Paper

The Effects of Animated and Static Logo:
A Study of the Differences

Co-authored with Cinzia Bottini and Juan Camilo Gonzalez

Extensive studies have been conducted regarding the use and effectiveness of logos in branding and communication. These studies have mainly concentrated on static logos and what constitutes them, but there is an overwhelming lack of academic research on an important aspect of branding practices which is animated logos. Therefore, an empirical research seemed necessary to provide scholars with preliminary data. An experiment was conducted through which quantitative data was collected using a questionnaire. The goal was to test if an animated logo differs from a static one in terms of positive affect, the ability to convey the intended meaning as well as to suggest the service that the company provides. The results show that ...

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Dec 2011

Thesis

Codes of Reality, Borders of Illusion:
A Semiotic Study of Reality in Animated Documentary

MA thesis submitted to Tarbiat Modares University (TMU)

While live action documentary is conventionally regarded as the main genre of film-making that represents reality, the animation form has also been sparingly used to represent aspects of reality throughout the course of cinema history. Although animated documentaries use an uncommon form (which is traditionally considered more suitable for illustrating fantasy) to represent reality, according to previous studies the viewers can and do routinely read them as documentary texts. The main question here is what helps the viewers to conceive this reality message. This study answers this question and delves into the nature of reality representation in the genre of animated documentary. From the semiotic point of view, there is a hidden system of codes inside every animated documentary that conveys the reality message. Using an appropriate theory of semiotics, the research aims to uncover this system of codes. In this study, multimodal social semiotics, as a powerful tool for scrutinizing all sorts of multimodal communications, is used for analyzing four animated documentaries — chosen purposefully from Wells’s typology. Finally, based on the results of the research, a model or descriptive toolkit for examining reality representation in animated documentaries is proposed.

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Sep 2011

Journal Article

Decoding the Real:
A Social Semiotic Analysis of Reality in Animated Documentary

A paper published in Animation Studies Journal

Using a vast spectrum of highly hybridized forms of contemporary filmmaking, animated documentary – an increasingly ubiquitous mode of representation – examines different aspects of representing reality. Likewise in academia, it keeps receiving scholarly attention from the side of different disciplines and fields of study. In spite of all these interests and attentions, this mode of filmmaking inquires more in-depth scrutiny not only because studies on animated documentary may result in more conscious utilization of the mode, but also as Ward suggests it may “potentially provide answers to some of the more troubling questions asked of documentary as a field.” (2005, p. 99). One of the obstacles which slows down in-depth studies of animated documentary is the complexity of reality representation processes in such films. Therefore, it would be a helpful practice to set up (a) framework(s) that make(s) it possible to discuss such intricate processes in animated documentary...

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