Visual and Material Culture: Course

Understanding Animation

Landesman Ohad, Dr., Semester 1, Sunday, 14:30-16:00
In this course we will try to understand what animation essentially is, whether it is different from live-action cinema, and why one should understand its history as part and parcel of the history of cinema in general. We will address theoretical questions that relate to the aesthetics of animation, such as: can we at all speak about realism as a dominant style in a practice that is essentially fabricated, and how has the dominant “disneyfication” phenomenon brought the hyper-realist style in animation? What are some of the narrative and aesthetic strategies that are so unique to animation, and how have these options materialized within the merge of animation with fictional cinema or its contribution to documentary film? How should we understand the rhetorical role of sound, accompanying the animated image? What is the significance of the recent digital developments in the field, and how do they refine the language of animation? As part of the theoretical discussion in this course we will go through different historical milestones in the development of animation, starting with the proto-cinematic optical toys and the experiments of Edward Muybridge in the 19th century, moving through abstract and experimental animation, and culminating with the computer revolution in digital animation with the appearance of Pixar. The lectures will be accompanied by short animated films and weekly assigned readings.