Database for Animation Studies


From Shadow Citizens to Teflon Stars: Reception of the Transfiguring Effects of New Moving Image Technologies

This article examines and compares a couple of moments of fleeting strangeness punctuating the history of the cultural reception of moving image technologies. Maxim Gorky read the early cinematographic image in terms of ‘cursed grey shadows’ (1896), while recent reviewers of Hironobu Sakaguchi’s Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001) have rendered the film’s computer-generated cast as cadavers, dummies, dolls and silicon-skinned mannequins. This article argues that it is not merely the image’s unfamiliar and new aesthetics that evoke the uncanny. Rather the image is received within a cultural framework where its perceived strangeness speaks allegorically of what it means to be ‘human’ at that historical moment.

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Animation: An Interdisciplinary Journal
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