Archive for the American animation Category
Illustrated Songs and Song Car-Tunes: Cultural Practices and Sound Technology in Early Talkie Animated Films
Abstract: This paper examines early Fleischer animated sound cartoons in the context of relations between cinema and other cultural practices. These Song-Car-Tunes encouraged audience participation through singing along with “the bouncing ball” and drawing conventions of vaudeville and early cinema exhibition, particularly in their adaptation of the pre-cinematic “song slides” or “illustrated songs.” Although they predated cinema, “illustrated songs” were the primary sound-and-image experience of the nickelodeon era. With standardization of musical accompaniment for films by the early teens, “illustrated songs” became obsolete. This paper proposes that in order to reconcile new technology with traditional exhibition practices, the Fleischer Song Car-Tunes adapted these earlier models of exhibition and reception to the new sound processes, through strategies drawing both on ironic and nostalgic re-workings of past conventions.
Biographical Statement: Mark Langer teaches Film Studies at Carleton University. He is author of The Fleischer Project, forthcoming from University of California Press, and has curated numerous Fleischer programs at venues such as The Museum of Modern Art, Il Giornate del Cinema Muto, the Cinematheque Francaise and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. His essays have been published by Cinema Journal, Film History, Animation History, Screen and others.
Portrayals of Class Mobility in The Simpsons
Abstract: As with most prime time animation, class is a recurring theme in The Simpsons. Its popularity and volume of episodes provide an ample case study. The Simpsons portrays a stereotypical American working class family, and presents themes of class mobility. Using a selection of episodes, this paper aims to explore the real world realities of this theme.
The ramifications that result from the show’s representations are discussed, including interviews engaging the group the show allegedly depicts. This investigation includes how audiences interpret the portrayals, and how it influences their views of class. In the current economic crisis, the idea of class mobility continues to play an important role in how the show reflects American society.
Biographical Statement: Harrison Stark is a graduate student at the Savannah College of Art and Design. He is working towards his MFA in animation. Harrison attained a Bachelor’s of Science in Telecommunications from Ohio University with a minor in Music.
Manuel Moreno: Animator/Director at Universal, 1929-1937
Abstract: The Universal cartoon studio, headed by Walter Lantz, employed the most significant Mexican-American animation artist of the 1930s: Manuel Moreno. He was chosen to be Walter Lantz’s own assistant director and then, by the mid-1930s, he became the director of the Meany, Miny, Moe cartoon series. He redesigned Oswald the Lucky Rabbit in 1936 and remained a figure of great creative authority at the studio, rising in stature alongside Tex Avery, yet Moreno’s contributions remain largely overlooked today.
Biographical Statement: Tom Klein is on the faculty at Loyola Marymount University School of Film and Television, in Los Angeles, as an assistant professor teaching Animation. He catalogued the Walter Lantz studio archive while a graduate student at UCLA, and has since presented and published numerous articles on the Universal/Lantz cartoons. He has been a consultant to Universal Cartoon Studios and served as an Animation Director for many years at Vivendi-Universal Games.
From Toy to Foil : Tex Avery’s Female Characters
Abstract: Tex Avery’s distinctive style in storytelling and humor, with its relation to freak shows and burlesque cinema, played with the notions of Disney aesthetics and Hollywood conformism. This is seen in his representation of female characters (and femininity itself). The Saloon Girl in the fairy-tale wartime cartoons, is the only anthropomorphic character in these freak shows, and as such stands as a cornerstone in Avery’s comic language and discourse. However, she can be already traced back in his early cartoons; and she can be “unveiled” under the disguise of tamer female characters in his post-war films.
Avery matches the evolution of American society, and adapts to the changing parameters of censorship. As it is, such representation of femininity may be perceived as one view of America’s coping with gender and taboos in the years 1935-1955.
Biographical Statement: Pierre Floquet teaches English and is associate professor at ENSEIRB, Bordeaux University. He wrote his PhD thesis in 1996 on linguistics applied to cinema, focusing on Tex Avery’s comic language. Since then, he has organized several Avery retrospectives and conferences at the Annecy Festival, France (1998), in Italy (1998, 1999), Norway (2001), Morocco, Trinidad, and the Netherlands (2008). He has been a juror at festivals in France and abroad. He has also widened his interests to live-action cinema, participating in books and journals in Canada, France, Italy, Japan, Russia, Spain and the United States. He edited a book called CinémAnimationS (March 2007).
Abstract: In Hollywood theatrical cartoons of the “Punctured Performance” sub-genre, the comedy arises directly from the performance of a piece of music and the attempts to interrupt or co-opt it by a character not originally involved in the performance. The playing of music itself turns into a competition, a conflict both of styles of music and of classes of characters. This paper will employ a structural analysis modified from the work of Vladimir Propp, delineate this sub-genre’s iconography, examine its appeal both to the animators creating it and to its spectators, and discuss its similarities to/distinction from a related sub-genre.
Biographical Statement: Richard J. Leskosky is the Interim Director of the Unit for Cinema Studies of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a past president of the Society for Animation Studies. For about 15 years he has been researching and writing on various sub-genres and their structures in Hollywood theatrical cartoons, several of which he has discussed at previous SAS conferences.
It’s a Bird. It’s a Plane. It’s Bob Parr? Narrative Discourse in The Incredibles
Abstract: As Pixarʼs first film concentrating on humans rather than anthropomorphized characters, The Incredibles questions the similarities — and differences — between live-action and computer- animated films. The Incredibles blurs the line between live-action and animation, but, complicates vocabulary in traditional animation and live-action contexts, creating a new vocabulary. A close analysis of The Incredibles’ mise-en-scene reveals the film questions semantic/syntactic uses of super-hero genre. Pixarʼs style of animation forgets the cartoonal, moving the image from spectacle to a suitable cultural text, reflecting reality. I propose that The Incredibles exemplifies the growing relationship between live-action and computer animation
Biographical Statement: Chris is a NYU Graduate Student in Cinema Studies. His collegiate career began at Clemson University, receiving a BA in Computer Science. His real degree should have been dabbling since he took courses across the spectrum of studies: Art, Programming, Animation, Creative Writing, and Theatre. Graduating, getting married, and moving to Brooklyn, May 2008 was a busy month for him. Since things have settled, Chris has noticed that many of the theories, histories, and readings fail to address, or justify, his love of Goofy shorts, Pixar, and Frank & Ollie. He is currently trying to find how his love for animation can fit into his academic pursuits. As part of his inquiry Chris is presenting a paper on The Incredibles at Yale in late January. As an undergraduate he used eye-tracking technology to see how edits affected spectatorship in Toy Story.
George Debels: Pioneer of Dutch Animation: The influence of American theatrical cartoons on early Dutch commercials
Abstract: This paper is a case study of the work of George Debels (Antwerp 1890-Amsterdam 1973). The life and work of Debels, the most productive pioneer of Dutch animation from the period 1916-1936, is briefly introduced. Being one of the very few filmmakers working in animation in The Netherlands, he probably learned many tricks of the trade by studying American cartoons that were shown in cinemas. The paper will focus will on how the design and style of Debels’ films was influenced by these American cartoons.
Biographical Statement: Mette Peters is researcher and curator of collections at the Netherlands Institute for Animation Film (NIAf). (The NIAf is the national centre of expertise and information for animation film and focuses on an artist in residence programme for talented animators.) She coordinates preservation projects, publications and exhibitions on animation. Her research interests particularly focus on the history of Dutch animation and animation preservation. She is co-author of the book Meestal in ‘t Verborgene: Animatiefilm in Nederland 1940-1945 (Animation Film in The Netherlands 1940-1945) and with Paul Wells, is currently working on a book about Animation Archives.
But is it (Fine) Art?: Thoughts on the Placement of (Pixar) Animation within the History of Western Art
Abstract: The clever end titles of Pixar’s WALL-E appear to subtly imply the justifiable position of this studio’s animation among the masterworks of Western art. At the very least WALL-E’s appearance within ancient frescoes and Van Gogh-esque landscapes bring attention once again to a debate, which found frequent voice in the 1930s and 1940s, following the successes of Walt Disney, but which has remained virtually dormant ever since: Does animation deserve a place among the history of Western fine art? This paper will explore this still relevant issue, while also addressing the opinions of Pixar artists on the subject.
Biographical Statement: Heather Holian is an Assistant Professor of Art History at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. She earned a Ph.D. from Indiana University in Italian Renaissance Art History in 2001, and has an established publication record in the field. Additionally, Prof. Holian has begun to pursue research on the Pixar Animation Studios, while teaching “The Art of Disney and Pixar,” a course she designed. Her proposed paper springs from her art historical training, experiences in the field and classroom, as well as information recently gathered at the Pixar Studios. The current study represents her initial work on a book-length project.
Magoo and Mickey’s First Television Adventures: Transitional Advertising Forms and the Theatrical Cartoon Star
Abstract: In the mid 1950’s Disney and UPA, adapting to survive the changing economic and cultural climate, began using characters from their theatrical cartoon shorts in television advertising. Cinematic innovation had failed to prevent sales declines. However, pervasive advertising promised new revenue. Combining cinematic style with television technology, these hybrid texts suggest a brief yet experimental animation movement. Contextualized in both theatrical and television history, myriad influences can be discerned that are crucial to animation’s emergence in a new cultural space. These texts, rediscovered on the internet, also mirror shifts in contemporary animation practice and theory.
Biographical Statement: As a Project Specialist at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies, I develop cognitive simulations for education that integrate cutting edge computer animation. My theoretical animation work complements this academic practice. This paper is a case study in a larger effort, initiated to survey individual animation practice through periods of industrial transition. A parallel study is focused on development of animated advertising in India today. I received my Masters degree in May, 2008 from the USC School of Cinematic Arts, concentrating in animation studies. Accordingly, this paper is part of an exploratory effort for future dissertation research.
Nostalgic parody or parodic nostalgia? Sub-genre on adultswim
Abstract: Since the inception of Cartoon Network’s [adult swim] in 2001, many of the shows have shared thematic content which references TV animation from the 1970s and 1980s. Using parody and satire shows such as, Harvey Birdman, Moral Orel and Robot Chicken, create a nostalgia, which is shared with the audience. The nostalgia codes must be understood and accepted by the audience for the comedy to succeed. This paper examines the characteristics of these shows and argues that by using specific familiar animation techniques and nostalgic references, a new sub-genre within comedy is being created.
Biographical Statement: Dr Nichola Dobson is an independent scholar based in Edinburgh. She previously lectured at Queen Margaret University and Glasgow Caledonian University. She recently completed her first single authored book, Historical Dictionary of Animation and Cartoons,for Scarecrow Press and is now continuing research in animation and television studies, particularly in the area of genre. She is the editor of the Society for Animation Studies peer reviewed online journal Animation Studies. She has published articles on animation and television and recently contributed to an edited collection, The CSI Effect: Television, Crime and Critical Theory (forthcoming, Lexington Books).