The 22nd Annual Society for Animation Studies Conference

Kirsten Thompson

“Liquid Color in Animation: Chromatic Paradoxes of Form and Abstraction”

arrival of subtractive color processes like Technicolor (II-IV) transformed animation, with color becoming central to animation’s kinesthetic and sensual appeal. Color attractions functioned as spectacles that offered product differentiation, affective appeal and perceptual play. This paper will examine color aesthetics and philosophy in relation to transformation sequences in Bottles (Ising, 1941, MGM), Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) and The Worm Turns (Sharpsteen, 1937), amongst others, in which “liquid color” in flasks, bottles, test-tubes and bubbles provide temporary physical (and narrative) forms for color functioning as hallucinogenic or magical.

Biographical statement:
Dr. Kirsten Moana Thompson is an Associate Professor and Director of the Film Studies Program in the Department of English at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. She is the author of Apocalyptic Dread: American Film at the Turn of the Millennium (SUNY, 2007), and Crime Films; Investigating the Scene (Wallflower, 2007); as well as essays on a variety of topics in classical American animation, including Disney, Warner Bros, and animated comedy. Her new project examines the history of color aesthetics and production processes in classical American animation.