Though for a long time marginal to the historical and theoretical concerns of mainstream film culture, animation has recently received increasing attention from critics and scholars owing to its prominent status in contemporary screen media culture and the dramatic expansion it has undergone in the digital age. The articles that compose this issue are remarkably consistent in querying animation as a mode that “destabilises the image”, that asks questions about the image and, in particular, about its relationship to reality. Edited by Yuanyuan Chen and Laura Rascaroli, University College Cork.
(Film and Screen Media, University College Cork, 2014) Wells, Paul
This article addresses three issues of what I suggest here should be regarded as the shifting technological and matter-based apparatus of animation: first, the meanings and affect of objects and materials actually used in animated films; second, the visual dramaturgy made possible by objects and materials for animation screenwriters; and, third, the status of animation process materials as archival objects. The analysis looks at a number of animated films and specifically at their design form, material association, and narrative function to define what I will call the “scripted artefact”, and an “Animated Object Cycle”. This overview will also operate in a spirit of thinking about theories of practice and practices of theory in animation, and refer to both established theoretical perspectives as well as primary practice idioms.
(Film and Screen Media, University College Cork, 2014) Formenti, Cristina
Due to their clearly imaginary narratives and to the presence of animation itself, animated mockumentaries make the viewer aware of their fictionality from the start. Therefore, these animated works constitute the clearest example of mockumentary being not a genre, but rather a narrative style capable of transcending the boundaries of genres, media, and individual poetics. Through the analysis of Ash Brannon and Chris Buck’s feature film, Surf’s Up (2007), and of The Simpsons’ episodes “Behind the Laughter” (Mark Kirkland, 2000) and “Springfield Up” (Chuck Sheetz, 2007), in this article I argue that the mockumentary style does not consist solely in the adoption of documentary aesthetics and structures, but also in the deployment of elements (such as booms left “accidentally” in view, glances in the direction of the camera and so on) that I will call fictionality clues. I will demonstrate that, whereas in hoaxes or credible live-action mockumentaries the presence of these hints might be dismissed as due to the need of alerting the viewer to the film’s effective ontological status, in the case of animated mockumentaries they would be redundant, if used just for this purpose. Thus their occurrence in these works suggests that they are central to the mockumentary as a form.