Feyersinger Memories Of Materiality

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Feyersinger Memories Of Materiality

  1. 1. Memories of Materiality: Animation and Nostalgia Erwin Feyersinger (University of Innsbruck) Animation has been changing drastically since the 1980s. The direct manipulation of materials is displaced by computer-aided and computer-generated animation (CGI). This paper will discuss how animation complexly and nostalgically reflects on these historical changes and the loss of haptic qualities caused by them. Older animation techniques such as puppet animation or hand-drawn animation are strongly rooted in reality: a real object (a puppet or paint on an animation cel) is recorded by a real object (a camera) on a real object (the film stock). The puppet can be physically moved or exchanged. An animation cel features pigments, which have to be applied and manipulated with a brush. The camera can be physically moved and its lens system is bound to the laws of optics. The film stock can be chemically and mechanically altered. Newer, computer-based techniques are not physically rooted in reality: virtual objects are recorded by virtual cameras as digital information. These techniques simulate a reality that not necessarily complies with the laws of physics of our actual world. However, computer-based animation often strives for hyperrealism. To make virtual images look as real as indexical images, CGI even emulates accidental traces of reality found in material-based animation such as optical flaws (e.g. lens flare) or the damage of the film stock (e.g. scratches, hair, or dust). The paper will focus on the emulation of these flaws as they are not only used to enhance the mimetic illusion of the virtual imagery, but also as a nostalgic and sometimes ironic reminiscence about the materiality of older animation techniques.

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