The 22nd Annual Society for Animation Studies Conference

Richard Stamp

Lines of convergence: the rhetoric, materiality and disciplinarity of the line in defining ‘animation’

lthough definitions of animation begin from an affirmation of its diversity, the rhetorical force of the dominant definitional tropes of ‘line’ and ‘drawing’ raises the problem of material specificity. This is what Norman McLaren does in his reflections on his own (canonical) ‘definition’ of animation as ‘not the art of drawings that move but the art of movements that are drawn’, insofar as ‘static objects, puppets and human beings can all be animated without drawings…’ This paper will argue that the rhetorical effects of ‘the line’ recur, unacknowledged and problematically, within recent quasi-ontological definitions of animation as the ‘animatic’.

Biographical statement:
Richard Stamp teaches cultural studies, film and philosophy at Bath Spa University. He is interested in ‘theorising’ animation in ways that combine an attention to the diverse materiality of animated media and the (inter)disciplinary formations of ‘animation studies’. The present paper is part of a project on ‘thinking through’ animation that takes issue both with dominant trends in ‘animatic’ theory and with recent so-called ‘pragmatic’ rejections of it. He is one of the editors of Film-Philosophy, an Open Humanities e-journal, and has recently co-edited work on Slavoj Zizek and Jacques Rancière.