Database for Animation Studies


The Spiritual—Functional Loop: Animation Redefined in the Digital Age

Can animation bring life to the computer? Can the computer take animation to a new horizon extending from cinema and visual art? This article starts with a scrutiny of the conventional definition of animation and its connection to the continuum of liveliness, followed by an examination of the two furthest points on that scale: lively movement, which is spiritual; and inorganic movement, which is functional. The author shows that, in the digital age, movement of various degrees of liveliness can be significant and meaningful through a wide array of motor--sensory functions. This brings about a new notion of materiality, which constructs an innovative meaning of animation. The author then argues that, when combined with the unique functions of the computer, animation can find a shortcut between the two extremes of liveliness: spirituality and functionality. Therefore, the field of animation could benefit from an expansion of its digital attributes. Finally, the author discusses a corpus of artefacts created in different historical periods and different media that exemplify the spiritual--functional loop.

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Animation: An Interdisciplinary Journal
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