Animation is rarely featured in books and catalogues on experimental cinema, and figurative animation is almost entirely excluded. Why? One of my goals as a media scholar and curator is to promote figurative animation as a tradition with a rich history of daring artistic experimentation. This past month (April 2023) I presented my recent writing on experimental figurative animation at the Society for Cinema and Media Studies conference in Denver.

This talk was part of a larger project on contemporary animators who use line, colour, and physical materials to unsettle the body and provoke the flesh. My focus in this presentation was on Martina Scarpelli’s film Egg (2018), which develops an animated language for bodily dysmorphia. I think about Egg as a film that seeks to find the form of anorexia and the anorexia of form. Thinking with this film (not about this film) helped my understand why geometric minimalism and abstraction have always been so privileged in histories of avant-garde animation.

I was fortunate to be part of a stellar panel on experimental cinema and the body, which included new work by cinema scholars Tess Takahashi, Anjo-Mari Gouws, and Soyoung Yoon. We had a very engaged and receptive audience, and it was great to hear from a number of animation folx in the room.

(Post title image is a still frame from Martina Scarpelli’s film Egg).