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    The peculiar ecstasy of the animated object

    Leslie, Esther (2015) The peculiar ecstasy of the animated object. In: Pantenburg, V. (ed.) Cinematographic Objects: Things and Operations. Cologne, Germany: August Verlag, pp. 95-109. ISBN 9783941360341.

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    In the 1920s and 1930s there was a peculiar flurry of thinking about cinema on the part of critical, Marxist or Anarchistic European intellectuals. Animation was a particular focus of interest because of its relationship to what Walter Benjamin termed 'a different' or 'an other nature' (eine andere Natur). Kracauer, Benjamin and others conceived of the cinematic object, which to a certain extent could be seen as the animated object (even in film) as part of a parallel nature or order of things, constructed and potentially mutable. The object is an object in movement, in change, behaving, or misbehaving. This lecture considers the constitution of those objects, beginning with Kracauer's super-cinematic objects - fabric and leaf, which allow him to theorize the filmic movement of things and the fate of filmic nature. To move the scale, Kracauer's constitution of the mountain in film is also considered. Eisenstein's concept of ‘non-indifferent nature’, of plasticity and ecstasy of the object - which proposes that animation gives a psychology to the object - is also pertinent. The talk then revisits the constitution of these filmic objects in our epoch, after a panoply of technical developments, such as CGI in the world of cinema and nanotechnology more generally in the world of nature and pertaining to scale. The constructed nature of the object in film (which is all animation now) is set critically alongside recent developments in object-oriented thinking, which posits a world thought from the perspective of the object.


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