Database for Animation Studies


‘Picture by Picture, Movement by Movement’: Melbourne-Cooper, Shiryaev and the Symbolic Body

This article seeks to position the early pioneering 3D stop motion animation of Briton Arthur Melbourne-Cooper and Russian Alexander Shiryaev within wider discourses of turn-of-the-20thcentury modernity. The discussion suggests that the significance of such work has been lost amidst the dominant discourses about the development of both the modern city and early cinema and, crucially, the ways in which the 2D ‘cartoon’ has been recognized as possessing the agency of modernist practice, while the 3D form has gone relatively uninterrogated and absorbed within other aspects of cinematic or cultural practice. The author argues that Melbourne-Cooper and Shiryaev self-consciously use 3D animation as a mediation between live-action photo-realist observation and the graphic freedoms of the early drawn forms, focusing on a ‘symbolic body’, which revises notions of the ‘attraction’ in early cinema, re-defines the city-space and documents the meaning in the motion of modernity.

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Animation: An Interdisciplinary Journal
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