Why Animation Matters

“I am writing, here, as a kind of casualty: someone who was seduced by this strange work, and has yet to recover. I have come to see that this is perhaps all I ever write about.” Ian Penman

Animation matters. It matters…

Because everything is going, is slipping beneath the waves, is starving or burning and maimed and animation is, more than anything, perhaps the most telling mark we have, within the moving image, that once we were not just surviving or enduring but thinking, acting, feeling. It is a protest, sometimes quiet sometimes loud, against the desertification of our times. It is writing one’s name, here and breathing once, in chalk and spit and lemon juice and ink upon the here and breathing, beating world.

Because it extends reality. Because it is a maker of possible worlds, of ways out and their destination. It is hand-made and hand-held. It takes a line for a walk or a run or a climb or a dive or a debauched night out on the tiles, yet this is a line that starts in the palm, that might pass white as addiction across the mirror and its reflection but one that ends both as a notch on the bedpost of a profound awareness and as a five bar scrawl on the prison wall of the mundane. One moment closer to freedom.

Because it is not the internet’s world population clock, or its seconds left to live site, or the Iraq bodycount toll or the projected deaths from the coming pandemic of avian flu. Death comes from the air, whether by missile, hurricane or featherborne. Animation rises from the earth, seed on seed; second by second it grows, patient over months and years. Whatever its colours, it is always green.

Because it dissolves us like acid, takes us out of ourselves by filling the vessel that is our consciousness with an utter otherness that we have always known in the rings of the bone, only to jolt us back with pure return, with the force of a woman’s summer legs, the scrawl of traffic, its metal glare, with the despair of a person who begs, deflating as a pinned balloon, exhausted by existing, by the day’s endless blade. The blade that dazzles, that gleams.

Because, without it, the moving image would have nowhere to go to dream.

Because it raises us, but not to the ground.

Anatomy of Melancholy animate! commission © Jo Ann Kaplan 2000

One Response to “Why Animation Matters”

  1. James Says:

    I think anything that is written about why animation should survive should be read, however mundane it may be, that there exists a space that some people are prepared to fill out with their words that represent thoughts on animation is worth reading about, in an age where everything is constantly moving, it’s good to hear that there are still some that create the movement through the medium of animation.

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