The 22nd Annual Society for Animation Studies Conference

Caroline Parsons

Reading the Rorschach

In this paper I shall propose that animated characters act as ink splots in a psychological test – that is that spectatorship relies on the wilful projection of consciousness onto an animated character. I would like to explore the notion that animation spectatorship relies on the human desire to anthropomorphise in order to create an emotional connection or attachment between the viewing human and the viewed object.

Biographical statement:
Arriving late to the medium of animation, Caroline Parsons worked in the industry through the 1990’s as a freelance compositor, at a time when digital non-linear editing technology was rapidly expanding to become a dominant mode of production. She joined Newport School of Art, Media and Design in 1998 and became the co-ordinator of the undergraduate programme. In this role, she has worked tirelessly to establish the programme as a leading animation education provider, and these efforts were rewarded in 2006 when the programme was given Skillset accreditation. She has since then taken on the co-ordination of the MA Animation programme. Two years into a Ph.D, her research interests centre around the impact of new technology on film spectatorship. Photorealistic digitally created or enhanced bodies, for example, mean that the viewer is no longer able to differentiate between Live action and Cartoon, between the real and the imaginary.