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It was my goal this term to post things I've been teaching in my Animation class, as a way of getting back into writing about anime. But now I find it's the works I put on the syllabus that are just slightly out of my range that excite me most. I feel like I'm kind of phoning it in on anime, honestly, since I know the material I'm teaching so well already. But when it comes to things I haven't touched for a while, like the avant-garde stop-motion short films of the Brothers Quay...well, it's fascinating!

To get the class talking about stop-motion, I had them read an article by Suzanne Buchan called "Animation Spectatorship: The Quay Brothers' Animated Worlds" (which conveniently enough you can access in the online journal EnterText). Buchan's aim is to describe how we can experience animation as a world, a haptic, embodied place, in which we "allow ourselves that most pleasurable experience of being moved, intellectually, affectively and emotionally, by what unfolds on screen" (98). It reminded me of my first startling emotional reaction to the Quay's films back in 2009 or '10. I wasn't able to fully articulate it in class, but I will post here some notes I wrote then about being moved by stop-motion.

The Quays' Uncanny World )
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It was my New Year's Resolution to get Netflix. So I did, and it has already expanded my world! The first film I watched on Netflix, using my new internet-enabled Blu-Ray player, was the first feature-length silhouette animation ever created. It's one I've wanted to see for years (should have seen for my thesis) but never had access to, until now: Lotte Reineger's 1926 film The Adventures of Prince Achmed.

The Adventures of Prince Achmed is the single most thorough-going example of animated Orientalism that I have ever seen.

Click here for a good rant )

Thesis Link

Aug. 8th, 2011 09:53 am
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Hey, now that there's no chance of compromising my rl identity (because I did it myself) I can post this link freely.

Here you can read or download my PhD thesis, "Animating Transcultural Communities: Animation Fandom in North America and East Asia from 1906-2010." The language and references are pretty academical, but I hope that anyone who likes animation and wants to know more about its history and current fandom might find it interesting. It's committee-approved and chock-full of animated goodness!

I'll post the abstract under a cut as well.

Thesis Abstraction )
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So, I'm determined to finish my last two thesis chapters on Flash animation and web anime by the end of November. I may vanish into writer's seclusion. I may decide that I really need to post something from/about my work. We shall see!

In the meantime, here's an awesome video that [ profile] eacherown sent me of a performance called "Myth and Infrastructure" by new media artist Miwa Matreyek. She was raised in Japan until the age of 11, when she moved to California. Now she's a CalArts graduate who creates works that intertwine animated images, projection and embodied performance. Enjoy!

You can also watch some of her bizarre art school animated shorts on her site.
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Whoa, it's been a busy week. I'm teaching a unit on anime in a third-year animation class and did my first lecture this week, on Spirited Away. To my great relief, it went well. But next week, I face the challenges of teaching television animation with Cowboy Bebop, and then the challenges of co-teaching in a tag-team lecture on Paprika. If that weren't enough, I finished a thesis chapter (3 down, 3 to go) and am determined to get another done by the end of the month, so that I can start right away on the chapter after that, which I'll be presenting part of at a conference in Scotland in late May. A grad student's work is never done!

Still, I'm hoping to take some time out this weekend to watch the Oscars. Hollywood blah blah Avatar yadda yadda, yes, but I want to see what wins in the animated short film category. I had a chance to see all the animated shorts in theatre this week, and while none are equal to last year's winner, Kunio Kato's "La Maison en Petit Cubes," there is one obvious choice and one edgy choice to keep things interesting.

I won't make predictions, but... )

As for features, I can say it in a line: I really want to see Coraline win, but I think UP probably has it. And that's my Oscar animation report. Back to you, Ben Mulroney!


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