Puppets between human, animal and machine: towards the modes of movement contesting the anthropocentric view of life in animation

Kim, Joon Yang (2020) Puppets between human, animal and machine: towards the modes of movement contesting the anthropocentric view of life in animation. PhD thesis, Middlesex University. [Thesis]

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Abstract

In this PhD thesis, I challenge animation studies’ conventional notion that animation can bring something inanimate to “life”. This emphasis on animation’s capacity to make a figure appear to move on screen has led to the problematic notion that movement has a synonymous relationship with life. Contesting these discourses, I show in this thesis that not every animated figure suggests the impression of life. In order to prove this, I put forward as a critical focus the puppet-as-puppet figure, that is, the figure of a puppet depicted as a puppet per se in the film diegesis, which problematises the impression of life even if appearing to move on screen. A related focus in my thesis is the mode of movement which functions as a visual and physical parameter in order to analyse what an animated (or static) figure is intended to look like, instead of reducing it to a question of life.

Through case studies of these puppet-as-puppet figures, which I classify into four groups, I examine the varying ways in which they are depicted as inanimate or sub/nonhuman, even when in human form, in contrast to human or (anthropomorphic) animal figures, both in terms of their mode of movement as well as their appearance. Examining how these depictions demonstrate anthropocentric views of puppets, I consider religio-philosophical, scientific and aesthetic discourses on puppets and human/animal simulacra. Further, I explore a selection of puppet-as-puppet figures as alternatives to these anthropocentric conventions, examining their defamiliarisation of the animating human subject’s mastery over the animated non/subhuman object, and the non-anthropocentric sensations which their movements arouse on screen in the relationship between humanity and materiality.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Research Areas: A. > School of Art and Design
B. > Theses
Item ID: 33346
Depositing User: Brigitte Joerg
Date Deposited: 02 Jun 2021 11:29
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2021 16:50
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/33346

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