Vivian Sobchack (University of California, Los Angeles)
Stop + Motion: On Animation, Inertia, and Innervation
Proposing a “poetics” rather than a “theory” of animation, this presentation focuses on our phenomenological and cultural relations with stop motion model animation at a particularly frenzied historical moment in which we are personally and collectively trying to “keep pace” with the relentless and technologically-driven speed of daily life. In contrast to that speed, model animation’s visible hesitancies, its material resistances and vulnerabilities, speak both to our bodies and our sense of increasing exhaustion, of being “worn out.” Model animation thus belies “virtual” animation’s “plasmaticness” to reveal the traces of a grave and grounding material “effortfulness” that emerges not as movement’s “other” but rather as its deep existential structure. It makes visible what we intimately and corporeally know but what the demands of our culture would deny: that animation in both life and cinema entails labor and is finite in both energy and its expenditure.
Vivian Sobchack is Professor Emerita in the Department of Film, Television and Digital Media and former Associate Dean of the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. Her books include Screening Space: The American Science Fiction Film; The Address of the Eye: A Phenomenology of Film Experience; Carnal Thoughts: Embodiment and Moving Image Culture; and two edited volumes, The Persistence of History: Cinema, Television, and the Modern Event and Meta-Morphing: Visual Transformation in the Culture of Quick Change. In 2012, she was honored with the Society for Cinema and Media Studies’ Distinguished Career Achievement Award for the significant impact her wide-ranging work has had on the field.