Database for Animation Studies


Animating the Photographic Trace, Intersecting Phantoms with Phantasms: Contemporary Media Arts, Digital Moving Pictures, and the Documentary’s ‘Expanded Field’

This article investigates the ways in which contemporary media artworks across various platforms provide a fresh look at the photographic inscription of reality by animating the still photograph with digitally produced movement. These artworks are based on what the author calls digital moving pictures', hybrid images in which photographic stillness and cinematic movement are interrelated in a single picture frame by the mediation of digital imaging systems. Examining the works of Jim Campbell, Ken Jacobs, David Claerbout, Julie Meltzer and David Thorne, the author argues that the pictures' blurring of the boundaries between the live action and the animated images, and between the recorded and the manipulated, is meant to satisfy documentary epistephilia (a desire to know') and stimulate the viewer's pensive' and investigative' engagements with the photographic trace as possible spectatorial modes of the documentary. The pictures then ask us to envision the documentary's expanded field' (Rosalind Krauss), in which a series of binaries defining the modernist conception of the documentary are problematized, including prioritizing the photochemical qualities of analogue film and photography as directly guaranteeing evidential claims about their representations over the animated or graphically rendered image.

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Animation: An Interdisciplinary Journal
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