A cinema of apprehension: a third entelechy of the vitalist machine

Buchan, Suzanne (2013) A cinema of apprehension: a third entelechy of the vitalist machine. In: Pervasive Animation. Buchan, Suzanne, ed. AFI Film Readers . Routledge, New York and London, pp. 143-171. ISBN 9780415807241. [Book Section]

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The chapter concentrates on puppet and object (stop motion) animation, a technique that receives less investigative attention than cel or drawn planar animation. In “A Cinema of Apprehension: A Third Entelechy of the Vitalist Machine”, I develop four proposals. The first takes into account the materiality of the animated object and develops a typology of the Quay Brothers’ non-anthropomorphic ‘vitalist machines’. It is informed by vitalist principles and Bruno Schulz’s concept of generatio aequivoca (spontaneous generation or self-reproduction), a main inspiration for Street of Crocodiles (1986) and later films. Working with Aristotle’s philosophical concepts of entelechy, I then sketch out an ontology of these animated objects as a category of soulless being that is rooted in a material objecthood, to offer an alternative to the prevalent concept of animism. The third proposal deals with how the viewer engages with features of the Quay Brother’s constructed puppets and objects, and I suggest how these portmanteau objects are visual metaphors that engage the viewer co-creatively. Fourth, I develop a somatic, epistemological and aesthetic proposal for the viewer’s reaction to these vitalist machines: what I call ‘a cinema of apprehension’, a performative and actively engaged paradigm of spectatorship for puppet animation distinct from live-live-action cinema, and animistic animation. I conclude with how naïvety and enchantment can be useful to understand our perception of animated matter.

Item Type: Book Section
Keywords (uncontrolled): animation aesthetics, animation studies, soul, Aristotle, puppet animation, vitalism, ontology, epistemology
Research Areas: A. > School of Art and Design > Visual Arts > Electronic and Digital Arts cluster
Item ID: 14037
Depositing User: Suzanne Buchan
Date Deposited: 09 Jan 2015 13:42
Last Modified: 25 Jul 2018 12:22
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/14037

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