Self Reflection Strategies and Idealisation of Animated Cinema : a Study of Self Definition
The definitions of animation in the writings of André Martin and his contemporaries focused on demonstrating the specificity of this form of expression in relation to live action film. The manual creation of movement versus its automatic capturing, the figurative expression of ideas and of creativity of the animator, and the power of the imagination were the key values advanced in these writings. However, efforts to identify and clarify the essential characteristics of animation are ineffective : they rest on a categorical confusion given the multitudinous uses of animation. A definition that would specify the universal characteristics is therefore incapable of explaining the phenomenon. The Wittgensteinian concept of “language games” is a promising prospect for a study of animation for it enables us to consider it as a series of usages all connected through a network of “family resemblances”. One can now consider various values (or “rules of the game”), various resemblances and differences within different contexts of use. By considering “mise en abyme” (a form of reflexivity) strategies as a relevant usage of animation one may be capable of investigating how animated cinema defines itself and how it reproduces certain “myths” about itself. Such “myths” include : the gift of life to materials or drawings that are normally inert; the plasticity that allows shaping them according to the will of the filmmaker; and the precedence of the phantasmagoria on the usual standards of reality.