Pens and Pencils: Baroque Poetics and Silent Animation
Abstract: This paper stages the relevance of the pen of the baroque poet to the transmuting pencils, chalks and inks of the early silent animators (Émile Cohl, Winsor McCay, Otto Messmer). The conceptual and spatial mobility of baroque poetics is reprised by early animation in terms of its energetic and unfolding transformations. The artifice of baroque poetics is a productive framework by which to approach early animation, as is its desire for contact with the participant, which can be extended to the sensual privileging of texture, surface, rhythm and line in silent animation.
Biographical Statement: My research agenda pursues media archaeology to re-invigorate the sensuous scholarship of film, media and animation. This paper builds upon my dissertation, Cinema’s Baroque Flesh, which was concerned with baroque experiences of art and film. My work appears in The Contemporary Comic Book Superhero (2008), Playing with Memory: The Films of Guy Maddin (forthcoming), Lounge Critic: The Couch Theorist’s Companion (2004), Senses of Cinema, Screening the Past, ARTLINK and Metro. I teach in Screen Studies at Melbourne University and I am an Assistant Curator with ACMI, where I am collaborating on a new permanent exhibition dedicated to the moving image.