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The Computer-Animated FilmIndustry, Style and Genre$
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Christopher Holliday

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781474427883

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474427883.001.0001

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Object Transformation and the Spectacle of Scrap

Object Transformation and the Spectacle of Scrap

(p.109) Chapter 5 Object Transformation and the Spectacle of Scrap
The Computer-Animated Film

Christopher Holliday

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter considers metamorphosis and object transformation as underlying elements of animation’s specificity and representational orthodoxy. However it argues that objects in the computer-animated film are altogether more stable, prized instead according to their utilitarian value—that is, their constructive worth or usefulness—whilst animators seek to preserve physical relationships and properties. This assertion runs counter to animation’s more conventional collapsing of an object’s material honesty within the spectacle of metamorphosis. Focusing on the genre’s fascination with everyday mess, this chapter discusses the emergent importance of an aesthetics of trash within the computer-animated film, and situate their formal and narrative preoccupation with rubbish, scrap and cultural detritus within wider traditions of junk art. Several computer-animated films redeem waste products as plentiful bounty, and their attraction to scrap provides the pleasurable recuperation of trash (as art) through its practical inscription as a fully-functioning cityspaces. By connecting the industrious behaviour of characters and inventors (as they manipulate and repurpose everyday junk) to cognitive and social activities of object substitution, this chapter argues that computer-animated films invite spectators to formulate new responses to recognisable objects, and to become acquainted with the widening of junk’s functional possibility.

Keywords:   Metamorphosis, scrap, waste, junk art, object, play

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