The Flesh of Animation: Bodily Sensations in Film and Digital Media (Paperback)

The Flesh of Animation: Bodily Sensations in Film and Digital Media By Sandra Annett Cover Image

The Flesh of Animation: Bodily Sensations in Film and Digital Media (Paperback)


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How animation can reconnect us with bodily experiences

Film and media studies scholarship has often argued that digital cinema and CGI provoke a sense of disembodiment in viewers; they are seen as merely fantastic or unreal. In her in-depth exploration of the phenomenology of animation, Sandra Annett offers a new perspective: that animated films and digital media in fact evoke vivid embodied sensations in viewers and connect them with the lifeworld of experience. 


Starting with the emergence of digital technologies in filmmaking in the 1980s, Annett argues that contemporary digital media is indebted to the longer history of animation. She looks at a wide range of animation—from Disney films to anime, electro swing music videos to Vocaloids—to explore how animation, through its material forms and visual styles, can evoke bodily sensations of touch, weight, and orientation in space. Each chapter discusses well-known forms of animation from the United States, France, Japan, South Korea, and China, examining how they provoke different sensations in viewers, such as floating and falling in Howl’s Moving Castle and My Beautiful Girl Mari, and how the body is mediated in films that combine animation and live action, as seen in Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Song of the South. These films set the stage for an exploration of how animation and embodiment manifest in contemporary global media, from CGI and motion capture in Disney’s “live action remakes” to new media installations by artists like Lu Yang.


Leveraging an array of case studies through a new approach to film phenomenology, The Flesh of Animation offers an enlightening discussion of why animation provides a sensational experience for viewers not replicable through other media forms.

Sandra Annett is associate professor of film studies at Wilfred Laurier University. She is coeditor-in-chief of the journal Mechademia: Second Arc, published by University of Minnesota Press.

Product Details ISBN: 9781517911591
ISBN-10: 1517911591
Publisher: Univ Of Minnesota Press
Publication Date: April 30th, 2024
Pages: 288
Language: English

"The Flesh of Animation is a timely and important intervention into the burgeoning conversation about embodiment in animation and digital media. Sandra Annett’s deep dive into the affective maelstrom of contemporary animation will reveal to any remaining doubters that animation is a force to be reckoned with, crisscrossing the borders between individual and geopolitical identities to shape the worlds and bodies in which we live." —Deborah Levitt, author of The Animatic Apparatus: Animation, Vitality, and the Futures of the Image