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January 1994


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Bill Mikulak <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 17 Jan 1994 15:53:17 EDT
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          Sterling Chen brings up a number of points that make
          animation so interesting to study. The term encompasses such
          a wide range of techniques, materials, and organizations for
          production, that separating form from content becomes an
          increasingly arbitrary decision. When we look at different
          works of animation, we cannot always see the institutional
          parameters that impinged on their production.
          In particular, identifying or even being aware of an author
          is problematic when animation is produced by large
          organizations, hierarchically divided into artists and
          technicians and support staff. These terms artificially
          limit our attribution of authorship to a small number of
          individuals while effacing the contributions of others, and
          denying the economic and time constraints imposed on all of
          Comparing individually produced works of independent
          animation to those created by organizations is fraught with
          problems of misattributing authorship, intention,
          aesthetics, and meaning.
          There are many approaches to the placement of animation
          within traditions of plastic arts, computer graphics, and
          motion picture production. Rather than see it as the purest
          form of cinema or even a mode of practice that encompasses
          live-action film, I prefer to see it in its multiplicity.
          I agree that much animation seems to excel at depicting its
          own constructedness and as Donald Crafton has shown in his
          book, _Before Mickey_, early animation often included a
          visual representation of an  author/artist. But the actual
          process bringing the pictures, objects, or pixels to life
          remains hidden to most viewers, even as we see obviously
          'unreal' images on the screen. And our ability to identify
          with drawn characters is just as great as with live-action
          Bill Mikulak ([log in to unmask])