Becoming Animated

Palgrave Macmillan
Publication Type:
The Other, 2007, 1, pp. 205 - 224
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To become animated is to exhibit a capacity for spontaneous movement that is associated with living beings. This association is open to question in technically gl"neraled animation. Modern incarnations of animated states had an unsettling autonomy - an uncanny liveliness associated with the artificially vivified automaton. Factory workers were seen as such by audiences in films like Modem Times; assembly-lines of mechanically-possessed, somnambulant bodies whose actions and gestures were dictated by their machines. Understood as the substitution of robotic machinery for the animus of a governing consciousness, spectacles of mechanical animation called humanist notions of selfdetermination into question. Feminist film theorists have argued that the way audiences viewed these figures was partly prefigured in the form of the doll _ woman-automaton. I Feminist cultural and literary critics have dwelt at length on gendered forms of mechanical animation. The following study begins by comparing the way Rey Chow and Helene Cixous analyse Freud's Interpretation of the woman-automaton In Hoffman'S tale, 'The Sand-Man'.
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